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World Mental Health Day

So today is world mental health day. I’d like to take the chance to say 4 things – and then practice what I preach.      

1. It’s vital that society and business take mental health issues seriously, positively and proactively. This isn’t just about being a good employer it’s also good business, increasing productivity, profit and growth       

2. It’s crucial we continue to challenge and overturn the stigma and negative language so often used about mental health & emotional wellbeing – particularly for children & young people. Please join the joint NHS & YMCA campaign #IAMWHOLE check out the video and join in at     

3. It is an outrage that funding for mental health is as low as it is. Even increased funding allocations have not actually flowed into mental health services    

4. Last but not least it is critical that we are willing to talk about mental health & emotional wellbeing. We shouldn’t be put off talking with those (and there are SO MANY of us) who are suffering or have suffered from mental ill-health. You may worry you don’t know how to help – but if someone is dying to talk about how they feel you are going to help just by listening.  


To practice what I preach I should say that I am signed off on part time working as a result of stress (and depression that is usually well controlled). This is a re-run of PTSD, stress and depression about 12 years ago during the time I transitioned after 28 years in the military to my role in the YMCA. I have previously gone public about those dark days in local media along with other veterans in the YMCA. I am pleased to say as an employer we really care about emotional wellbeing, with practical support for staff, volunteers and of course for our clients who face a huge number of challenges that can easily undermine their emotional wellbeing.  I wouldn’t wish my experiences on anyone but believe they have given me an insight when working with young people – particularly those intent on ending it all.  It really does help to talk.  


 So if anything here affects or challenges or concerns you – yes talk to me or someone you trust. Don’t bottle it up.   Aged 8-30+ in West Kent  




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YWCA #ItsTimeToTalkCLE – Diversity and Racism Solutions!

Thanks for sharing and inspiring… Great to see YWCA thriving in the USA. (Tragic the UK YWCA lost their way). As ever the best ideas are often quite simple and straight forward – and yes they can disrupt or IMPROVE the status quo. I guess brave women and men from all cultures are needed more than ever to push back against the worst policies coming out of Trump Towers?

Charity Ideas

Today I went to a YWCA event, #ItsTimeToTalkCLE, about diversity and racism. It was fascinating in our small groups to hear about personal experiences with prejudice, and it was truly enlightening.

YWCA Cleveland's #ItsTimeToTalkCLE at TriC 2017 The Reverend Joan Campbell and Jane Campbell with host Danielle Wiggins of WKYC, 2017 YWCA

One of my favorite things was the World Café, where we tackled racism in Cleveland and how to solve it, in one hour. What amazed me, was that this group of hundreds of people came together with hundreds of ideas, distilled into a few key areas and solutions for ways to solve the problems, in one hour through working together.

It reminded me of a few overarching things I have seen working with countless nonprofits over a couple decades:

  • Status Quo means… we should probably change that.  To me, the definition of Status Quo is, n. Latin: “We should probably change that.” The…

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Losing their religion: why Christian charities lose their ethos

Resistance & Renewal

warning strong currentIt cannot be disputed that Churches are very good at establishing social action projects.

In recent years this is illustrated by the high-profile rise of church-based Food Banks, Night Shelters, debt services and a whole range of street outreach.  Organisations like The Trussell Trust, Street Pastors and Christians Against Poverty have seen their work grow at an incredible rate.

But this is not just a recent phenomena.  Each of my last three employers all represent different aspects of the long tradition of Christian social activism.

In the late 1990s, I worked for five years for the youth homeless charity Centrepoint which was started by the late Rev Kenneth Leech. He was an Anglican priest who opened up his church, St Anne’s Soho, as a night shelter in 1969.

In 2002, I went to work for the Shaftesbury Society (now Livability), a large charity who ran a wide range of disability services and urban community work…

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Learning to disagree well on Europe

Reimagining Europe

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby

Around 1981 I was travelling down to Nigeria with colleagues from the oil company I worked for. It was a French company and I lived in Paris.

My colleagues were all French. One of them was far, far senior to me, the head of the shipping department, and as we travelled, we chatted.

There was a crisis in what was then called the European Community, with, I think, Mrs Thatcher strongly asserting the UK’s position. He turned to me and said “you British just don’t get it. Europe is about peace, not money.”

He went on to say how three generations of his family had lost people in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and in the two world wars, always fighting the Germans. He himself had been in the Resistance during World War II. I listened with interest…

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16 plus training programmes.

Best wishes to all pupils and their parents, staff and other supporters after results week.

Whether you got grades you wanted / expected / needed or not – yesterday, good luck as you plan out your journey or review your options or even just take some time to re-consider your plans. There is never any harm in looking again at your options – to seek your goals / work to your strengths / take on a challenge that you want (not what others think you want or need – although a wise person will always seek advice and other’s views before making their own decision)

Do consider our new 16-19s programmes – gaining skills for life, for work and for living – based on working in construction and/or retail – building meaningful experience, qualifications and improving your English and maths

Calling all #kent #schools #colleges #youngpeople aged 16-25 see FREE offer and check out our letter to schools  here >> #NEW #FREE #youth #achievement #workbasedlearning #work #vocational #apprenticeships #studyprogramme #traineeship

Any questions?  Email

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YMCA North Staffordshire on Panorama tonight – 8.30 pm

YMCA North Staffordshire on Panorama tonight

YMCA North Staffordshire will be the main feature on Panorama tonight (Monday 27 July) at 8.30pm.

The episode, filmed earlier this summer, follows four young residents on their journeys through homelessness the amazing work being done by the YMCA team in Stoke.

Please watch the special and show your support for YMCA on social media, through your own posts and by liking /sharing updates on Facebook and Twitter.

We hope the young people’s stories will speak for themselves but any positive support would be hugely appreciated.

Our focus is reaching out to more people who may need help.

If you know of anyone who could be supported by the YMCA in Stoke or in the nearby area, please get in touch at or by calling 01782 222376

to find out more about our Supported Housing go to to see our recent film

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Be inspired

Vote 4 Jason West Kent YMCA – our dynamic, inspiring, wonderful [wounded young veteran] youth mentor – Young Worker of the Year award he so deserves

Thanks – see more ways to help us today at

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JOBS – a heads up | West Kent YMCA recruiting

Once details / interview dates confirmed we expect to have the following job roles advertised on

Tutors –

–  plumbing & metalwork

–  carpentry & joinery

Youth Mentor – specific for disabled wounded or injured ex-services


–   Full time housing support (key) worker

–  part time night security and support worker

interested?  send your contact details to or SMS only 07941388852   Keep watching our website


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Female Photographer Takes Stunning, Subversive Photos of the Men Who Catcall Her

Well done Hannah! A picture speaks a thousand words.
Maybe some of those you photographed have a wife or girlfriend who might be sad or cross to see this!

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Proposed housing development |10 Move On flats

we have just updated this blog, with a firm meeting date on Wed 16 October at 7.30 for 8 pm

West Kent YMCA

FMH_front_smPlease check out ourrevised 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…

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