OUR IMPACT 2022/2023
Housing, Care & Support
We’re so proud of our residents. So many of them have overcome astounding challenges to move forward with their lives this year.
Resident X was a young person diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, depression and anxiety. They came to us with anger management problems, was a drug user and had trouble engaging with external agencies with no desire to get into employment or education.
Staff supported them in a number of ways; developing self-help skills to control their anger; working with the police and external agencies; helping them to access to health services and how to look after their own health; arranging benefits and payments; and support with training and social skills.
They built up their independence over time to the point where they were able to control their anger, make social connections and friends, attend appointments by themselves, and participate in events and activities.
Resident X went on to achieve a Construction Skills Certificate (CSC) card, the leading skills certification scheme within the UK construction industry and had more faith in their abilities, a dramatic change from when they started where they frequently said they could not do anything.
Resident Y was a young man of 20yrs referred to us following the breakdown of his relationship with his parents and being asked to leave the family home. He found himself sofa surfing with friends and drifted from one homeless situation to another. Shortly after coming to live at YMCA, the parents relocated outside of London, leaving him feeling further alone and totally isolated from his family. This situation caused further stress for him who already suffered with anxiety and depression, which resulted in occasional self-harming and suicidal thoughts.
He engaged with his support worker and met frequently to identify ways of combating isolation and loneliness and creating opportunities to increase meaningful use of time. He was supported to seek professional counselling and was referred to Talking Therapies with the intervention from his support worker.
He soon found part-time work with a local car parts distributer and continued to work towards the goals that were being discussed in his support plan sessions. It became clear that he was keen to re-establish communication with his parents and to rebuild his relationship with them. His support worker was able contact his parents who were also keen to rebuild the relationship.
Slowly, with the support from his support worker and regular supported discussions with his parents, he started to visit the family. The visits were productive, and he was keen to return to the family home to live with his parents. He continued to work through the actions identified within his support plan with the goal of making the transition from Slough to his parents.
After 18 months of living at the service he moved out having been supported to rebuild his relationship with his parents. He continues to stay connected with the service and has recently found full time work with a national auto factory.
Children, Youth and Family
We’ve seen the young people we work with flourish.
A new girls’ only session for under 16s started at Botwell in June 2022. Since introducing this separate session, with a female coach, we have had 8 regular attendees each week.
One 12-year-old tells us she has gained confidence and is happy that she decided to start attending football with a friend in the last year. She says that if it was not for our football sessions, she may not even play football for fun anymore, and that she likes that she still has something that makes her ‘happy’. She also attends our mixed youth club and girls’ group sessions on other days of the week and feeds back that she feels safe and welcome at the sessions. She likes being able to talk to staff without judgement, which she says she isn’t able to do anywhere else.
New Pre School and Good Ofsted Grading
The new YMCA Hampton pre-school formally opened Monday 5th Sept 22. It was officially launched with a family day on Friday 2nd Sept 22. At the family day the team welcomed the Mayor of Richmond as well as a lot of the new families that were joining the pre-school. Since September we have had 38 children attend our setting and been able to provide 27 funded places, equating to 225 free hours per week.
The YMCA Jumpers Nursery team in Ealing were awarded a Good Grading by Ofsted in the summer of 2022. …”Parents talk positively about the setting. They value the daily verbal feedback about their child’s day and find the photos and information on the nursery app very useful. The manager recently held a workshop for parents to learn about how to support their children at home. This successful partnership has had a positive impact on children’s learning and development.” 75% of our parents use the setting due to work. Over the past year we have provided 48 funded nursery places, equating to an average of 325 free hours to children each week.
Health & Wellbeing
It’s wonderful to support our members in mind, body and spirit.
Online and in person exercise classes
We have continued to offer a blended approach for our Health & Wellbeing classes and courses, with some continuing online and others in person at our gyms in Kingston, Surbiton, Walthamstow and Wimbledon. This is a compliment that was received, that shows how much the work that our team do is appreciated:
“Your classes are easily the best that are on offer. They are presented so clearly, and with instructions and options for all levels, and the pace is absolutely perfect, such that one is not rushing through movements and benefiting from momentum (and perhaps bad habits) but at the same time exercising really hard and using the right muscles (well trying to at least!). We all feel as if we have worked really quite hard by the end of each class and have benefited enormously from the different ranges and sequences of exercise.
Your classes are a really important part of our “health care” and we feel that we will reap the rewards for many years to come.”
Release Counselling has continued to deliver a hybrid approach of therapeutic services to our housing and community clients. We have seen a significant increase in the demand for face-to-face sessions and new counselling rooms have been created in South Ealing and Wimbledon. The number of completed sessions throughout the year has totalled 983, made up of 683 completed community sessions and 300 resident sessions.
Of our community clients, the number accessing counselling is fairly consistent with previous years. Conversely, we have seen an increase in our housing clients sharing the impact of trauma in their lives, reporting issues including:
- fleeing violence in other parts of the world (the effect of what they have witnessed, the journey to the UK, being separated from family and friends)
- family breakdowns
- multiple traumatic life events which often means we see an increase in unhealthy coping mechanisms such as isolation
- erratic sleep and eating behaviours
In March 2022, we had 9 volunteer Counsellors. As of April 2023, this has increased to 18, to include 7 fully qualified counsellors who continue to volunteer with us. Each volunteer commits to seeing three clients per week and attends 4 hours of supervision a month. With an average of 12 Volunteers over the year and if they volunteer for 46 weeks of the year, this equates to 1,656 hours and additionally supervision increases this to 2,000 hours a year. We have recruited to have 30 in place for September 2023.
Feedback from Volunteer Counsellors:
“Just wanted to say that this is another reason Release is such a great placement. Feeling valued and cared for as a trainee – thank you both!”
“As a Volunteer Counsellor at Release Counselling I have been able to grow and learn with the continual challenge and variety of my clients, both housing and community, but always secure in the support of the Release Counselling team.”
Each day we seek to meet our residents, staff and community at their point of need and help them to know life in all its fullness.