Untitled design - YMCA St Paul's Group Announces New Chair

14 November 2022

Helen Brewer announced as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees, succeeding Andy Palmer


Today, YMCA St Paul’s Group is excited to announce that Helen Brewer has been appointed as its new Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Helen Brewer has been a dedicated and passionate Trustee of the YMCA since 2016 and will take on the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees following the charity’s AGM in November 2022. Helen brings a wide range of experience from a previous career in banking and finance and more recently as a health and wellness consultant.

Helen succeeds Andy Palmer, who became Chair of YMCA London South West in 2015. During his time as Chair, Andy was at the heart of the mergers that brought together four of the largest YMCAs in the UK under the banner of YMCA St Paul’s Group. During Andy’s tenure, the YMCA’s work grew and expanded into new communities, not least through award-winning housing schemes, such as the Y:Cubes in Mitcham and the landmark new development of YMCA Wimbledon. Andy was also Chair when the association became the first YMCA to surpass 1,000 units of accommodation and then be awarded the G1:V2 grade from the Regulator of Social Housing.

Speaking about his time at YMCA St Paul’s Group, Andy Palmer, said:

“I wanted to get involved in the work of the YMCA because it makes a massive difference in the lives of hundreds of young people and transforms dozens of communities. During the last few years, there have been many challenges that we have had to navigate not least through Covid and the recent soaring costs of energy.  However, the highlight for me has always been hearing from the young people in our residential accommodation or community projects about the positive impact the YMCA has made on them and their future.”


Talking about the transition to Chair of the Board of Trustees, and picking up the baton from Andy, Helen Brewer, comments: 

“I look forward to building on what I have been part of with Andy and honoured to lead YMCA St Paul’s Group on its journey into its next chapter. We have strong governance and financial leadership alongside a highly-skilled, diverse, and committed Board. This is a challenging but exciting time for us as a charity. I am determined to see how together as Board members and staff we can continue to provide more and better affordable accommodation for our residents, and how we can improve our fundraising to support our youth and community services, all whilst raising our profile and growing our reach into new communities. Given the cost-of-living crisis, there has never been a greater need for YMCA St Paul’s Group.”


Richard James, CEO of YMCA St Paul’s Group, adds:

“I want to thank Andy for his years of hard work and commitment to YMCA SPG during his time as Chair. During his tenure, we have transformed as a charity. This transformation has been possible because of his leadership and the associated strong governance that this has ensured. We look forward to the next stage of our journey with Helen at the helm, knowing she will bring fresh enthusiasm and energy to the role.”


YMCA SPG is a charity supporting and empowering young and vulnerable people across London through life-changing youth work, vital community services and specialist-supported housing for those at risk of homelessness.  The vision is to create places where young people thrive and communities flourish.  

As one of London’s largest providers of specialist-supported accommodation, YMCA SPG provides a safe place to stay for around 1,200 residents each night.

We are always looking for Board and committee members to help lead the Charity and deliver positive outcomes for those we serve. By applying your strategic skills and experience, gained either on a board or working at a senior level, you will provide the challenge and support necessary to ensure that we can continue to positively impact the lives of thousands of people across London and beyond. For more information please click here.