News Walthamstow

YMCA project helps young people net new opportunities

Partnership between charity and developer to give “hard to reach” youngsters mentoring and coaching

Playing basketball at YMCA Walthamstow
Playing basketball at YMCA Walthamstow

A group of young people in Walthamstow are benefiting from sports coaching and mentoring thanks to a partnership between YMCA and a housing developer.

YMCA Walthamstow in Forest Road has been providing a “safe, welcoming, and active environment” with support from trained sports coaches and qualified youth workers – free of charge – to 35 young people twice a week.

Comprising two basketball sessions and one multi-sport session a week, the programme has been supported by Countryside Partnerships, which is delivering multiple regeneration schemes in the borough. The sessions at YMCA Walthamstow also provide additional services such as mentor support, mental health workshops, employment skills and sexual health advisory sessions.

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The project has given the group of “hard to reach” young people “a safe place to go in the evenings” offering “a positive experience in a secure environment”.

A number of regular attendees are refugees and the sessions offer them a space to learn a new language and build relationships with young people of the same age, with the youth workers offering extra support and guidance.

Regular attendee Hawakin said: “I love to attend the basketball sessions here at the YMCA, they deliver a tailored service to each young person.”

Another student, who is new to the country and has only been living in London for a few months, said this about the sessions: “When I first attended the multi-sports sessions I felt happy because I used to play football in my country and stopped playing when I arrived in the UK due to lack of free facilities for young people.

“I now know that I can continue playing my favourite sport and gain new skills from a sports coach.”

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