YMCA, Exeter

YMCA is the oldest and largest youth charity in the world, helping young people (5 to 30) to reach their potential and “experience fullness of life in body, mind and spirit”. Their services involve and benefit vulnerable young people and their local communities, and include children’s and family work, supported accommodation and mental health intervention.

The coronavirus outbreak has had an impact on every corner of our communities, and though reported amongst those at lowest risk of a serious outcome from contracting it, this does not by any means, exclude the young.

The youngest in our communities and homes are all exposed to the effects of lockdown. School and college closures, a diminished social life, a stop put to the progression through early adult life, strains on families and support networks are all having an effect. In fact, a much higher level of anxiety has been reported amongst this age range than for the elderly.

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"A survey by The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) found that 70% of 18-24 year olds are experiencing more anxiety than usual, compared with 47% of over 75s." (DCF Covid 19 Response Weekly Breifing 28th May 2020)

YMCA in Exeter are trying to address this by reaching out to young people and their families in the city with a range of support services including:

  • Emotional and wellbeing advice via telephone, video and text chat
  • Collection of prescriptions for families self-isolating
  • Activity and wellbeing resource packs
  • Emergency food packages

“With the funding, and through offering additional support and one to one phone contact, we hope to relieve the mental and emotional suffering caused by Covid-19 on the young families and children we work with. We hope also to reduce the amount of anxiety faced by parents and children at the moment, in particular by providing food hampers to relieve food poverty and offering guidance as to how they can best maintain a calm and stable family home.”

“Many of the young families we support live in social housing and are often in single-parent households. They are generally on Universal Credit and/or have recently lost employment due to Covid-19, experiencing increased social isolation and food poverty. Many families are also experiencing the challenges of home-schooling and require additional support and resources to ease the stress. For example, we are supporting one family whose child is eligible to go to school due to their family vulnerability, however the mother has decided he cannot go due to her underlying health condition and her exacerbated fear of catching Coronavirus.”

ymca exeter

“It’s so encouraging to have been awarded this grant from DCF. Whilst we’ve been unable to support our children and families in quite the same way as we normally would, producing an activity pack with additional stationary, is just one the many ways in which we’ve adapted our service and kept in touch with the communities we work in."

"Some of the families we are supporting are currently shielding and unable to get out the house to find resources for their children. This activity pack will mean a lot to the families we work with, especially those for whom additional resources are a financial burden.”

DCF are pleased to have been able to answer this application for funding that will help pay for staffing and go towards resources with big thanks to The Old Mill Fund and our Devon Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund.
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June 2020