Shop window of YMCA charity shop

7 May 2020

I recently heard the Coronavirus poem by Welsh comedian and poet, Max Boyce, “When just the tide goes out”. This poignant and funny poem talks about the change in our world and how the streets are all like Sundays with shops closed and no one about. In the midst of this stillness the caring still goes on and the Mumbles and Swansea tide continues to go out.

Here at YMCA St Pauls Group much of what we do have been reduced to the quietness of Sundays, with all our gyms, cafés and school-based settings closed. Despite some lovely spring sunshine Hampton Pool has been quiet, with the heating turned off and only the pumps turning to keep the water clean.

Yet amid the silence we continue to have our ongoing essential work. Over 1,150 people call the YMCA home. They live in our hostels and projects that spread across London and into Slough and East Surrey. Some of these people are very vulnerable and are obviously concerned about what the future world looks like for them,

During this our essential, key working YMCA staff continue to come and go to support them. Despite their own concerns and worries our hardworking housing, reception, housekeeping, maintenance, and catering staff continue to do what they need to ensure that our residents are supported. They must do this in different ways, encouraging people to keep their distance or accessing their support through the phone. At the same time we know that others in the youth and children’s work team are doing what they can whether that be in providing support to carers families in Jumpers nursery or in delivering online youthwork sessions to our young people.

These staff are some of our YMCA heroes, continuing to do what is needed so that others get the support they need. As YMCA when we go onto our doorsteps to clap for carers we do so to also thank our hardworking YMCA staff.

To support these individuals as well as our members in the community we have now launched a wellbeing fund. Through the kind support of our friends, family and members we are using the funds from this fund to develop resources to support both our staff and residents as well as provide activities for the wider community. You can read more about our wellbeing fund here.

6 May 2020