Latest News

The Big Sleep Easy is back! Could you sleep rough so others don’t have to?

On the night of Saturday 16 November 2019, almost 200 staff, managers and directors from businesses and organisations across Dorset are expected to brave the cold and take part in the YMCA Bournemouth Big Sleep Easy to raise awareness of homelessness and the funds to combat it.

This year’s event at Bournemouth Sports Club (Chapel Gate) follows the record-breaking launch of this event at the same venue in November 2018 when companies including Lester Aldridge Solicitors, AnyTech Solutions, Corbin & Co, Newnham & Jordan and PKF Frances Clarke raised an incredible £25,000 on our behalf.

This November, fundraisers will wrap up warm, build shelters out of cardboard boxes, take part in fun challenges and then sleep outside for a night in an enclosed area, warmed only by their sleeping bag, hot drinks and the supportive messages of those who’ve sponsored them.

We are inviting local businesses, groups and organisations to put their own teams forward for the event, the purpose of which is to raise awareness of local homelessness and essential funds to support our work. Individual fundraisers are also welcome but all participants must register in advance.

A big ‘thank you’ to those individuals and organisations who have already said they’ll be supporting the event this autumn:

A Storage
Corbin & Co
Make Studio
Lester Aldridge
WAY Group
Newnham and Jordan Solicitors
Hybrid Sales & Lettings
Bluestone College
Ian Girling, CEO, DCCI

YMCA Bournemouth Fundraising Manager, Martin Stockley, said: “Last year’s event was amazing: the enthusiasm shown by the organisations was breathtaking and the experience will certainly have changed people’s perceptions.

“With so many new businesses wanting to get involved and last year’s participants wanting to do it again because they valued both the team-building and community engagement involved and the ability to make a difference – we knew we had to do it again.”

Managing Partner of Lester Aldridge solicitors, Matthew Barrow, who participated in the 2018 event and are also kindly sponsoring the BIG Sleep Easy launch in March, said:

“A team of people from Lester Aldridge took part in the Big Sleep Easy in November – we all found it incredibly tough and it gave us a tiny glimpse of how hard it must be as a way of life. We are happy we are able to support such a worthwhile and effective project.”

If you or you and your team might like to join us for a night under the stars this autumn and make a real difference to people’s lives, please get in touch with Sheena Dayman on 07824 333505 or sheena.dayman@ymcabournemouth.org.uk.


New Training Courses Introduced


We believe that everyone should be able to fulfil their potential. One way in which we work towards this is through delivering a range of cost-effective training courses to businesses, charities and members of the public.

We have been offering Health and Safety, First Aid at Work and Fire Marshal courses for over 10 years. We have now begun to introduce a range of additional courses.

Our new courses are as follows:

  • Level 2 Award In The Principles Of Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (CoSHH)
  • Level 2 Award in The Principles of Workplace Risk Assessment
  • Level 2 Award in Manual Handling Loads at Work

CoSHH covers several areas of learning, such as understanding laws and regulations, risk assessments and necessary precautions and procedures.

The Principles of Workplace Risk Assessment covers topics including gaining an understanding of the principles of risk assessments and how they contribute to a safer working environment.

Manual Handling Loads at Work helps people to understand how risk assessments are important to improving health and safety. It also helps people to understand the requirements and principles of manual handling.

If you’re interested in learning more about the training courses we offer, you’ll find further information at http://ymcabournemouth.org.uk/training-and-education/ or please contact the training coordinator Heather Chandler at heather.chandler@ymcabournemouth.org.uk or call 01202 290451 Ext: 4005.


Last chance to vote for the Bournemouth’s Childcare or Children’s Centre Worker of the Year

Each year, the very best in childcare and children’s centre service provision is celebrated at the Early Years Sector Awards. The event is managed by Bournemouth Borough Council and the closing date for this year’s nominations is Friday 1 February 2019, with the winners announced at an awards night on 13 March.

The event highlights the people in the Bournemouth area who, every day, strive to provide outstanding care and education and the best possible outcomes for local children and their families. To nominate an individual, all people need to do is complete a simple form at www.bournemouth.gov.uk.

The award categories are Childminder of the Year; Children’s Centre Volunteer of the Year; Children’s Centre Worker of the Year; Day Nursery Worker of the Year; Pre-School Worker of the Year; and Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCo) of the Year.

Staff and volunteers at YMCA Bournemouth are amongst those in contention. In fact it was only two years ago that we won twice, with Juliet Gentry recognised as Bournemouth Children’s Centre Worker of the Year and Louise Everett presented with the SENCo of the Year award for her work at Teddy’s Pre-School.

We have been providing family support and children’s services for over 30 years. Today, amongst other projects, we manage the Pokesdown and Southbourne Children’s Centre on behalf of the local authority; run Teddy’s Pre-School in Pokesdown; and also operate a Child Contact Centre, which helps children affected by family breakdown.

Last year, we supported nearly 1000 families across Dorset.

Our Head of Family and Relationship Services, Jackie Huggett, said:

“We are enormously proud of the hard work our teams put into supporting children and families. As an organisation, we believe that every family should have the support they need to develop and lead more fulfilling lives, but it is the dedication and commitment of individual staff and volunteers that can turn that dream into a reality.

“These awards are a great opportunity for parents and families to thank particular individuals who’ve made a very real difference to the lives of their children.”

For further information or to nominate a childcarer or children’s centre worker, please visit www.bournemouth.gov.uk/childreneducation/childcare/childcareawards.

For details of the services and activities provided by YMCA Bournemouth, please email jackie.huggett@ymcabournemouth.org.uk


8-year-old independently decides to run around Winton Recreation Ground to raise money for the homeless after hearing a talk at school

As part of our marking of World Homeless Day late last year, we presented talks at local schools and gave pupils activity books on the subject of homelessness. The pupils then proceeded to raise funds for the charity by holding ‘Den Days’ and other activities.

After hearing our talk, 8-year-old Oliver of St Luke’s CofE Primary School decided he wanted to raise even more funds for the charity: “I sometimes run with my dad so I thought I could do one for the YMCA. I’d heard about how they help the homeless. I didn’t want any other people to be homeless.”

After creating a fundraising poster, he ran a number of times around Winton Recreation ground and raised £21 for the charity. His mother reported how he was reluctant to finish, apparently saying: “I won’t stop. This is for a good thing, Mummy!”

Later, Oliver visited our hostel in Westover Road to donate his funds. One of the former residents, former rough sleeper Steve Beale, thanked him for his efforts: “You’ve done real good, and we’re really grateful for the help,” he said to Oliver and shook his hand.

More recently, we presented Oliver with a photo of his visit and a certificate of thanks. “Oliver’s done a wonderful thing,” said our new Chief Executive Officer, Gareth Sherwood. “We are hugely grateful to all the local schools and pupils who raise money for us, and for one of those pupils to be inspired to raise even more for our work is truly heart-warming.”

The local schools involved in fundraising for World Homeless Day were St Luke’s, Bishop Aldhelm’s, Moordown St John’s, King’s Park Academy, Queen’s Park Academy, Muscliffe, Bournemouth Collegiate, St James’s Academy and Manorside Academy. Together they raised around £4000 to support YMCA Bournemouth’s work.

As the weather worsens, if you are concerned about a rough sleeper please contact the council rough sleeper team at b&pstreetoutreach@mungos.org or visit www.streetsupport.net/bournemouth for further information.


YMCA News Update 2018

We hope you enjoy our latest update. This is aimed primarily at our church supporters and their congregations but it provides a useful overview of our work and key details of our latest news.

In new year we will be producing an entirely new publication with full details of our work, projects and fundraising opportunities, along with stories about those we’ve helped and the difference that supporters of our work have made.

If you’d like to download this publication, please click here. If you have questions, please email richard.chumbley@ymcabournemouth.org.uk


Not everyone expects to receive a present this Christmas. YMCA Bournemouth’s Prezzies for Rezzies campaign invites local people to donate a gift to its supported housing residents

Christmas is a challenging time for residents of YMCA Bournemouth’s supported housing. Having previously slept rough and now in the process of fighting hard to stay off the streets and move forward with their lives, many have no social connections, most will not be invited home for Christmas, while for others ‘home’ is a stark reminder of a difficult past.

The ‘Prezzies for Rezzies’ campaign invites local people to donate a new or nearly new Christmas present to people who otherwise might receive none at all.

“You cannot imagine the difference it makes to our residents for them to feel that they are remembered at Christmas: that someone cares enough to send them a gift,” says Kathie Pearce, the charity’s Head of Housing. “The road to recovery and a positive long-term future is a challenging one: a little kindness can do a lot to help them get there.”

YMCA Bournemouth suggests the following: socks, sweets, stationery, art materials, calendars, diaries, colouring pencils, paints, colouring books for adults, toiletries, gift sets, hair accessories, food (no alcohol), DVDs, games and puzzles. They ask that these items remain unwrapped as the charity selects gifts appropriate for each resident.

There are three collection points for donations:

  • YMCA Bournemouth, Delta House, Westover Road, Bournemouth BH1 2BS;
  • The Junction Sports and Leisure Centre, Station Approach, Broadstone BH18 8AX;
  • Pokesdown and Southbourne Children’s Centre, 108 Stourvale Road, Southbourne BH6 5JB.

Could you bring a smile to a former rough sleeper’s face this Christmas?

For further information please contact Sarah Watson on 01202 290451 or email enquiries@ymcabournemouth.org.uk



Record-breaking £25,000 raised for YMCA Bournemouth by nearly 100 fundraisers in the area’s biggest ever sponsored ‘rough’ sleeping event

On the morning of Sunday 18th November, approximately 100 staff and directors from 23 local businesses and organisations, plus individual fundraisers, woke up in cardboard box shelters having slept overnight at YMCA Bournemouth’s ‘BIG Sleep Easy’ at Bournemouth Sports Club (Chapel Gate) As a result, approximately £25,000 is expected to be raised for the charity – a new record for a YMCA Bournemouth fundraising event and more than double the original target!

Participants awoke cold and tired but knowing that they had made a real difference in the fight against homelessness. Chris Palmer, Manager Director of local IT business AnyTech Solutions, who himself raised over £1600, said: “The AstroTurf was extremely firm and my hands felt numb, so I can’t imagine what it must be like sleeping in a doorway. But what better way is there to make a point about homelessness and raise awareness?”

The previous evening, on Saturday 17th November, fundraisers arrived at Bournemouth Sports Club at 6.45pm to be given large cardboard boxes and tape from which they or their team had to build a shelter. They were also presented with woolly hats and scarves: a selection of 100 created specifically for the event by Broadstone and other local ‘Knit and Natter’ groups supported by Douche Family Funeral Directors.

Sustained by hot soup, drinks and the warming thought of a breakfast bap in the morning, they applied their creativity to build and decorate some fantastic carboard structures, listened to a brief speech describing the work of YMCA Bournemouth and a poem about homelessness which was written for the occasion*, before bedding down around 10.30pm.

Local organisations taking part included solicitors Lester Aldridge, chartered accountants PKF Francis Clark, Battens Solicitors, IT Support Business, The WAY Group, Altogether Care, BH Living, Grapevine telecommunications, Hemsley Financial Services, LMA Architects, Kuehne + Nagel, A-Storage, Globacare insurance, South Coast Payments, Newnham & Jordan solicitors, Make Studio, Calvary Pentecostal Church, RIAS, Green Light Electrical Installations Ltd, Lewis Investment and Marah Recruitment.­

Debbie Corbin of Corbin & Co Estate Agents was the first person to sign up: “We decided we wanted to give back to the local community and we chose a cause associated with our business. We realise that there are people without the opportunity to have their own home so we wanted to support YMCA Bournemouth in the work they do providing homeless people with the tools and resources to get a home for themselves.”

Managing Partner of Lester Aldridge solicitors, Matthew Barrow, was one of a team of 17 who raised over £6000:

“We were looking at community engagement because it’s something we think we should do as a business. YMCA Bournemouth is an integral part of our community and by taking part in this event we are helping to change the local social landscape. Homelessness is something that can happen to anyone – a single life event and anyone could be there.”

This thought was echoed by Cllr Lesley Dedman, Mayor of Christchurch, who spent time at the event and was invited to judge the ‘Most Creative Shelter’ competition:

“It’s an issue close to my heart. My own family, many years ago, went through hard times and nearly lost our house. I know how easy it is to find yourself slipping down the road of being unable to cope. This event is fantastic: I’ve met so many people happy to experience an uncomfortable night to help others.”

The winners of the competition – Newnham & Jordan – won a sightseeing boat tour and lunch courtesy of Christchurch Sailing Club. The other winners were Green Light Electrical Ltd, PKF Francis Clark and Calvary Pentecostal Church.

Earlier, the Mayor and Mayoress of Bournemouth, Cllr Derek Borthwick and Mrs Dorothy Borthwick had also visited to show their support: “These events are fantastic,” said Cllr Borthwick. “People have turned out to make themselves aware of what’s happening outside their front door. We have to be thankful for those who are devoted to looking after those who really are in need.”

The event attracted individual fundraisers as well as businesses. Tim Spring (below) was one of the solo fundraisers: “I’m really pleased to be here,” said Tim. When I was 15, I spent time sleeping rough because of a poor domestic situation. My resounding memory wasn’t the cold, it was the feeling of isolation, vulnerability and above all how slowly the time passed.

“I think it’s very easy to use dependency issues as an explanation for homelessness to smooth our own consciences when in reality it’s due to poor mental health provision or other reasons. Some very stereotypical things are expressed by some of my other middle-class friends and I would like them to think about it more deeply.”


One fundraiser, Robyn Strange, even gave up her 30th birthday celebrations to sleep rough for the night! She raised well over £300. “I’ve had a bit of a hard year and I thought it would be nice to give something back and have a 30th to remember,” she explained. “Everyone’s been really chatty and it’s been great. We would definitely do it again.”

Martin Stockley, Senior Operations Manager at YMCA Bournemouth, Poole & Christchurch, said:

“The interest, support and participation we received was nothing less than remarkable. Each and every person was dedicated to making a positive and long-term difference to the lives of individuals in need and it was a personal honour to meet them. The experience will certainly have changed people’s perception of the harshness of sleeping rough. Our sincere thanks, and admiration, to all those involved.”

If you would like to show your support you can still make a donation at https://mydonate.bt.com/events/bigsleepeasy. If you or your business are interested in taking part in a future Sleep Easy event in either spring or autumn next year, you can email YMCA Bournemouth on fundraising@ymcabournemouth.org.uk.


Local hostel resident organises a Macmillan coffee morning to help show that people in his situation can help others too

UPDATE: Our coffee morning on 28th September raised an amazing £217.69 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Senior Accommodation Support Worker Tess Charman was delighted by the response: “A massive ‘thank you’ to all those who helped with the MacMillan coffee morning – to those that promoted, baked, bought and donated their time and money to a great charity. We had some delicious treats and were totally overwhelmed by the amount of donations.”

The Daily Echo included a lovely piece on the story on Tuesday 2nd October. You can read it here

On Friday 28 September, a drop-in coffee morning will be held at YMCA Bournemouth’s headquarters at 56 Westover Road, Bournemouth as part of the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in support of Macmillan Cancer Support. Small cash donations can be made in exchange for coffee, tea and a selection of delicious cakes.

The event is inspired and co-organised by a resident of the YMCA Bournemouth hostel, Danny Ainsworth. 40-year-old Danny has been homeless most of his life. About three and a half years ago, however, he got help with his addiction problems, found a place in supported housing, got clean and became a volunteer himself, helping others who were stuck in his previous situation. “I loved it,” he says. “I was helping people: trying to give them a bit of what I had.”

Sadly, following the loss of his grandfather and a split with his girlfriend he fell back into bad habits and once again found himself homeless. “I just want to get back to where I was two years ago,” says Danny, who has been in the YMCA Bournemouth hostel since June and is now receiving the support he needs.

Danny, who had previously been behind the planning of an addiction recovery café during his time as a volunteer, decided to run a coffee morning in aid of Macmillan because his aunt had been cared for on a Macmillan unit before she died: “Nothing was ever too much trouble for the staff and they made my auntie’s last days as pain-free as possible. I just want to give something back.

“I also want people to see that residents in a hostel, people in my situation, are not only here to be helped, but that we can help others too. I want people to see the good that we can do. Please come along and support us if you can.”

YMCA Bournemouth, residents, staff and members of the public are all contributing cakes to the coffee morning, which will take place in the reception area of the YMCA building from 10am to 1pm. Anyone and everyone is welcome to drop by for cuppa and a nice slice of cake.


While visiting YMCA Bournemouth and speaking to its residents and staff, Conor Burns MP reveals some of the reasons behind his passion for homelessness issues

On Thursday 17th August, Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, spent an afternoon at our Westover Road hostel to meet staff and residents as part of his continuing campaign to explore the benefits of cooperation between organisations dealing with homelessness.

Mr Burns was shown around our hostel and facilities by our Chaplain, Jez Du Puy, and our Head of Housing and Support, Kathie Pearce. They explained how the organisation is funded and its primary aim of helping residents progress from supported housing to independent living through, amongst other means, the teaching of essential life-skills, the provision of one-to-one support and assistance in securing long-term accommodation.

Mr Du Puy also showed Mr Burns around the Half Time centre, a collaboration between local Christian charities which provides washing facilities, advice and support to rough sleepers.

During his visit, Mr Burns spoke to a number of residents about their personal stories and revealed the story behind his own passion for the issue:

“I went to a private school run by Christian brothers and we were very much encouraged to consider that the privilege we had was one side of the coin; the other side was responsibility,” explained Mr Burns. “When I was in my sixth form, I coordinated a project to improve conditions for patients in our local mental health facility. Sadly, when I returned years later, the hospital had closed and some of those patients were the people now living in the street.

“Behind every person on the street there is a tragedy and I feel the obligation that we should do all we can. I’m not convinced that we’re getting it right here in Bournemouth or embracing the range of charity organisations, professional organisations and churches that wish to help. It’s in the town’s economic as well as moral interest to help people get off the street.”

Mr Du Puy said: “We really appreciate the interest Mr Burns showed in our work. Our initial aim is to make a personal connection with our residents: to find out what’s going on in their life and discover how best we can help them as individuals. So, we were particularly pleased that Mr Burns took the time to speak to residents”.

For his part, Mr Burns said he saw the role of YMCA Bournemouth as a vital component of the collective response that is necessary to tackle homelessness:

“The journey that led people onto the streets requires another journey to lead them off the streets. YMCA Bournemouth is a sort of service station for homelessness: the place where people can stop, refuel and get the levels right before heading to the destination, which is independence and the dignity of work.”


Quick links