30 May 2014

This year, YMCA LSW was featured on the popular TV show Undercover Boss on Channel 4.

In the show, Bims Alalade, Senior Director of HR at YMCA England, went undercover to investigate how a recent funding crisis is affecting the largest and oldest youth charity in the world. In the programme, a disguised Bims volunteered on different jobs and projects at YMCAs across the country, in order to look into how budget cuts and a decrease in donations are impacting the organization and the brand.

Whilst undercover, Bims – or ‘Abi Solomon’ as was her alias on the show – also visited YMCA Wimbledon, where she was put to work by the dedicated and hardworking housekeeping staff who expected nothing but the highest standards from their new volunteer.

Bims’ Line Manager for the day was the meticulous and hardworking Maureen McShane, who has worked for YMCA St Paul’s Group for almost 40 years!

More than just a place to sleep

YMCA St Paul’s Group’s centre in Wimbledon includes a hostel with 110 beds; the Canteen community café, a newly refurbished gym, soft play and children’s after school facilities.

The hostel provides temporary accommodation for single homeless people from South West London. Being so much more than just a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in, it is also a place where people who face a difficult life situation get support and training which helps them turn their lives around and ‘get back on track’.

Every supported resident is assigned a Support Worker and together, the resident and the Support Worker will develop a support plan that will eventually lead to independent living. As part of our holistic approach we also offer counselling, life skills classes, social activities and opportunities to explore spirituality and faith.

Help and support to move on

The residents in our hostels may stay from a few of weeks to a couple of years. When moving on, all residents are given a resettlement grant that enables them to start fresh in a new home. These grants are used to buy items such as saucepans, mattresses, and fridges and anything else that will help give them the best possible start as they move into more independent living.

In the last financial year, over 60 residents were helped finding suitable move-on housing by the support staff at YMCA Wimbledon. 20 residents were given a resettlement grant, most of which were for £250, to a total of around £5,000. So far this year, 5 grants are agreed, totalling £1,250.

Residents can also apply for a grant from an advancement fund, to go towards education, training, travel costs for a new job , books or similar.

Please donate

Richard James, Chief Executive of YMCA LSW, said:

“If you saw the Undercover Boss episode on Tuesday, you would have seen the high standard of the services provided to the people living in our YMCA LSW hostels. However, hostel accommodation is not a permanent solution to homelessness, and our main focus is always to support people in getting the necessary life skills and training that will enable them to move on to independent living. With your donations, we can help people in need turn their lives around and enable them to start over when they move out of our hostels. Your donation will go to resident’s resettlement grants and the advancement fund, which is helping people in their transition from supported to independent living”.


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Did you miss the episode? Watch it here!