Category Archives: training

what are we about – our strategy

Wordle: WestKentYMCA strategy


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November 30, 2014 · 11:47 pm

Christmas greetings and news

A very happy Christmas to all our clients – trainees, residents, youth club members, our 1000’s of followers [facebook, twitter, linkedin and blog], 100s of supporters, volunteers, trustees and staff and many other partner agencies.

—— >>> Please join us TODAY at one of the amazing Carol Concerts, being held in the stunning Chapel at Tonbridge School at 3 pm and 7.30 pm.  For more details and press release see free parking, tickets on the door £6, £8.

STILL LOOKING for last minute presents or cards?  Our YMCA shops have a wide range of furniture from practical to unusual, white goods, beds, clothes, our charity cards and even bags of kindling to keep the home fires burning

Looking back over 2013, there have been many challenges, difficulties and some real distress…. But this year has also been full of achievements, positive outcomes and real progress for many people, projects and the whole charity.

We have enjoyed many visits – including:

  • Greg Clark MP become our first Friend of West Kent YMCA
  • Sir Jonathan Evans, KCB  who became our first Patron, a few days after stepping down as Head of MI5
  • The Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, became our second Patron bringing his housing expertise and interest to bear.
  • The High Sheriff of Kent – Lord and Lady Colgrain.
  • HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG, GCVO accompanied by the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle MBE opened Ryder House extension and refurbishment.

Many local people came to our family fun day, our supporters coffee and cake event, local consultation events or our SAY YES 2 YOUTH celebration.

Many young people have progressed in their lives – showcased by inspiring case histories in our Trustees Annual Report – released today

We have been honoured by many nominations and awards – for ethical business, volunteer of the year, apprentice of the year and recently were named as the London Learning Consortium’s Employer of the Year.

We are delighted to be part of

We hope you will journey with us in 2014 as we face many more challenges:

Kind Regards,  Rob Marsh    Chief Executive
projects, referrals, contacts, news, jobs follow our BLOG

West Kent YMCA | Helping Young People Build Their Future | Charity No 803529 |

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Filed under apprentices, development, friends of West Kent YMCA, housing, news, patrons, social enterprise, training, trustee, veterans, youth work

Join us for our SAY YES 2 YOUTH Celebration 6 – 7.30 pm on Thursday 24th October 2013 at TN2 Community Centre, Sherwoood, TN2 3LZ

Join us for our SAY YES 2 YOUTH Celebration 6 - 7.30 pm on Thursday 24th October 2013 at TN2 Community Centre, Sherwoood, TN2 3LZ

To RSVP  –  or Tel 01892 542209  |  More info

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October 17, 2013 · 7:08 pm

Vote 4 us – help us win £3000 from Lloyds Bank Community Fund

Youth Club

Vote 4 us – help us win £3000 from Lloyds Bank Community Fund

Apprentice Fundraiser Roisin Donovan writes  “I asked Lloyds Bank if they could support our SAY YES 2  YOUTH campaign – as we need to fund immediate counselling for vulnerable young people in a crisis and to engage young people in challenging activities that build confidence and self-esteem”.   Local Lloyds Bank managers and staff were quick to select West Kent YMCA as one of their chosen charities.

Please show your support for West Kent YMCA, our SAY YES 2 YOUTH campaign and our vital life-changing work in our local community by voting in ALL three ways.  

  • online at search for YMCA, select West Kent YMCA,
  • and in person in Tunbridge Wells / Southborough branches of Lloyds Bank,
  • and by texting VOTE MJXB to 61119 (standard text cost only)


Downloads –  our posterour press release | more info & photos



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Filed under apprentices, development, friends of West Kent YMCA, fundraising news, housing, media, news, training, veterans, youth work

HRH The Duke of GloucesterRoyal Visit to West Kent YMCA
Official opening of Ryder House Refurbishment & Extension

We are delighted to be hosting a Royal Visit this week, by
    HRH The Duke of Gloucester  KG, GCVO
HRH has interests that relate to many aspects of our work.  The Duke is associated with over 150 charities and organisations.  His patronages reflect his professional and personal interests and can be grouped under the following themes:

1.  International humanitarian issues; these can be sub-divided into
(a) international development and
(b) disaster prevention and relief
2.  Health issues
3.  Social welfare, community and youth development
4.  Environmental issues and climate change
5.  Social sciences and technology
6.  Culture and the arts
7.  Heritage and the built environment
8.  Military veterans and the disabled community
9.  Armed forces

RHouse Logo COL SM


to find out more, get updates and see our press release

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October 8, 2013 · 8:27 pm

YMCA Jobs | Horizon Project Tonbridge | Mentor / Tutor | thanks to the Poppy Factory

Are you a disabled/wounded/injured veteran, or are you working with veterans?


West Kent YMCA are looking to recruit anyone – ideally with some carpentry / construction experience – who has served in HM Forces but has suffered sickness [including emotional / mental health / PTSD] or injury or disability.

This is a NEW one year post – thanks to funding by our friends at the Poppy Factory.  So far all those who have come to us via this scheme are still part of the winning staff team at West Kent YMCA, working in the HORIZON Project

Interested or know anyone who might be?
Just send your/their contact details to or text PFM to 07941 388 852

PLEASE SHARE this with your contacts, Many thanks

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Proposed housing development |10 Move On flats

FMH_front_smPlease check out our revised update on our proposed joint development at the Friends Meeting House, Grosvenor Park, Tunbridge Wells – behind the Job Centre.   We plan  to develop ten move on flats for young people [who successfully completed up to 2 years support and training as good tenants at Ryder House] and to improve the Friends (West Kent Quakers) meeting space.

During our consultation events in June/July we found some common themes and some diversity in your many comments.  [Some views relate to existing issues in the area, rather than this development per se.]  We used the summer to collate and review ALL comments, update the design and refine our planning application.


Wed 9th October – We meet TWBC Planners – pre-planning consultation – before we submit a planning application.

Thu 10th October – 2.30 – 4 pm  –  Come and join us for the West Kent YMCA open day at Ryder House, 1-23 Belgrave Road, TN1 2BP.  Development plans will also be on display in Ryder House that afternoon.

Wed 16th October  – 7.30 for 8 pm Come to a public meeting at the Friends Meeting House, Grosvenor Park, Tunbridge Wells – behind the Job Centre.  From 7.30 pm – refreshments and view the latest plans.  At 8 pm – we will talk about needs for move on housing, our plans, a summary of local views and then take questions on our proposals from local residents and anyone else who wishes to attend.  Book in on 07941388852 or email or just turn up.

From 21st October  We expect to submit planning application so TWBC can publish on the planning portal for consultation.

Thu 28th October 6 – 7.30 pmCome and join us for our SAY YES 2 YOUTH celebration and open evening at TN2 Community Centre, Sherwood, TN2 3LZ.

For more information phone or text Rob on 07941 388 852 or email



Thanks to Quaker Housing Trust “Our emphasis is on the provision of homes– not just housing” who have grant funded the work required to get our proposals to planning consent   |  Architects – Churchill Hui


Filed under development, friends of West Kent YMCA, housing, news, training, youth work

Apprenticeships chosen over university by more young people than ever!

YMCA Friends launch apprenticesApprenticeships are making the news this month, with the BBC News Website explaining the rising popularity.

West Kent YMCA employs several apprentices across the organisation, including 5 undertaking Youth Work qualifications and 2 undertaking Fundraising qualifications as part of their on the job training and development.

All our apprentices are active and involved members of their teams, taking responsibility for many tasks and supporting each other through the process. The youth work apprentices work from our outreach project ‘Vehicle for Change’, connecting with young people in isolated locations across the area, helping to set up youth groups and signposting to employment, training and work opportunities and other support agencies and much more. Our fundraising apprentices help form a team undertaking tasks such as bid writing, event planning, co-ordinating individual giving such as sponsored activities, updating funders and planning PR and campaigns.

They attended our ‘Say Yes 2 Youth’ Campaign launch, meeting many V.I.Ps, partner organisations and our new Patrons.

Enthusiastic and energetic, an apprentice can be a great asset to any organisation, with competitions such as ‘Apprentice of the Year’ spurring them on to achieve more and be truly recognised in their field. One of the apprentices here at West Kent YMCA, Helen Campbell is a finalist for ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ Love Where You Live Award!

Kent High Sheriff Lord Colgrain, who visited us recently, says : “I feel strongly about the training of young people, especially young offenders. The more we can get companies to set up apprenticeships the more we can help in that process, because there is going to be less and less government money available.”

West Kent YMCA encourages residents to seek employment and training, with many going into an apprenticeship as this is the perfect way to gain valuable qualifications and experience, making them strong competitors for many roles within the workplace and moving them forward in life.  Contact us to find out more on

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Filed under apprentices, friends of West Kent YMCA, fundraising news, housing, media, news, training, Uncategorized, youth work

High Sheriff visits Horizon Project TN2 and V4C!!!

HighSherrif_visitHigh Sheriff visits Horizon Project TN2, in Sherwood!!!

Kent High Sheriff Alastair Colgrain and his wife Bella who chairs Kent Community Foundation – aka Lord and Lady Colgrain – visited the Horizon Project TN2, along with other VIPs recently on a ‘Seeing is Believing’ visit.  They were joined by other trustees of Kent Community Foundation as well as their CEO Carol Lynch and Development Manager Annette Fettes.

The Horizon Project offers plumbing, metalwork, carpentry and joinery skills together with individual one-to-one support for disadvantaged young people aged 14 to 25.

Horizon is currently helping around 70 young people a year on full or part time courses, in 3 workshops, as well as “Taster Days” and shorter courses.  Most trainees are aged 14 to 16, 60% have been excluded from school and a further 20% are in danger of exclusion.  90% have Maths and English skills problems and Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD issues.  Training is designed to meet their individual needs and can start at any time throughout the year.

The High Sheriff has great interest in training young people so was very interested to see the Horizon Project in action.  During their visit they meet trainees and tutors working together, spoke to managers, tutors, mentors, youth workers and apprentices and also enjoyed the ‘Vehicle for Change’ van experience; which is designed to Engage, Equip and Empower young people.   They heard from CEO Rob Marsh about all the projects and learnt about the journey young people go on with support from West Kent YMCA.

The part the Horizon Project plays in many young people’s transition is vital, the visitors were impressed by the trainees they meet, who were all still in their first week of term so may have been slightly nervous!  The visit was a great success, the rain even held off for the van tour and everyone had very positive feedback from the VIPs.

If you would like to visit any of our projects, volunteer with us or take part in a sponsored activity to fundraise for our amazing projects just get in touch on

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Young Volunteer of the Year



HOMELESS at 17 and without a penny to her name, Helen Campbell felt driven to give back to the charity that saved her.  When the 21-year-old of Frant Road, in Tunbridge Wells was a teenager, she did not have a good relationship with her father.  Following a family argument when she was 17, she began sleeping on the streets.

Vehicle 4 Change is a project that reaches out to disadvantaged, at risk and hard-to-reach young people.  When youth workers found Helen on the streets, they offered her a place to live.

Since getting her life together, Helen has wanted to give back.  She said: “If it wasn’t for the V4C I would have done nothing or something worse. Not only have they given me a place to live and helped me with my CV, but they have kept me out of trouble.”

                              “Now I am starting to feel like I have a future.”

Helen dedicates 30 hours a week to help young, vulnerable people within the community – collecting food for the homeless, meeting young people in parks and helping out on trips and activities at the weekend.

Since securing her own place and showing incredible determination to the cause, Helen has landed the role of Youth Worker as part of a Youth Work Apprentice Programme.  It is a huge accomplishment for Helen who initially undertook the Youth Champions Programme, a scheme designed to provide positive progression within young people.

“The project has helped me with my confidence as well as kept me fit and healthy,” she said. “It has opened my eyes and shown me there are good people in the world. I am so thankful.”

to see more about all the Young Volunteer of the Year contenders in the Love Where We Live awards click here >

OTHER AWARDS     We have also been nominated for:

Ethical Business of the Year contender

Ethical Business of the Year contender

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September 18, 2013 · 3:55 am