Martin with LandAid at YCubes scaled 343x229 - Youth Matters 2022 Semi-Finalists

Martin Bushaway

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Roxeth Gate Housing Project of the year 1 scaled 343x229 - Youth Matters 2022 Semi-Finalists

Roxeth Gate

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Khalsa with Sat instructors 343x229 - Youth Matters 2022 Semi-Finalists

Khalsa Karate Club

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Crime DIversion Project Family Project YMCA SPG scaled 343x229 - Youth Matters 2022 Semi-Finalists

Crime Diversion Project

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YMCAStaffstars 343x229 - Youth Matters 2022 Semi-Finalists

YMCA St Paul's Group ERGs

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Martin with LandAid at YCubes 1024x768 - Youth Matters 2022 Semi-Finalists

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During the past 12 months, Martin has been actively campaigning around the issues of Housing Justice and Food Poverty with his work with YMCA St Paul’s Group and Merton Citizens.   

He is currently representing YMCA SPG with Merton Citizens where Martin has been campaigning for an empathy-first approach for frontline staff working with vulnerable people facing homelessness, after experiencing his own negative experience and hearing many more from our residents. He has been instrumental in getting council leaders to agree to working with YMCA residents to create a training course for support staff addressing how to speak to young people when they are facing the prospect of being homeless. To do this, Martin has spoken at many Merton Citizens meetings, including speaking alongside Merton Councillor, Eleanor Stringer, and will be supporting the training process by giving his insight.  

In addition, Martin is passionate about campaigning for genuinely affordable and social housing. Sharing his journey with YMCA SPG with key stakeholders and influencers. Most recently, he was a key speaker at Labour London Housing Group’s discussion on ending homelessness. Speaking alongside Sarah Owens MP, Martin ensured the voice of the resident was heard and also promoted the Cubes project (even launching his #YCubesEverywhere campaign). He also met with LandAid to share his personal experience of living within affordable move-on accommodation YCubes.   

Not only has Martin been influential and campaigned himself, he is also engaging and encouraging residents at YMCA Wimbledon to join him and campaign and volunteer themselves too.  He is also currently working on a project to create a mobilised food bank, exploring funding and forging relationships with the local community to turn his vision on to a reality in the future.   

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Roxeth Gate Housing Project of the year 1 1024x768 - Youth Matters 2022 Semi-Finalists

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Roxeth Gate (RG), Harrow, is a short-term supported housing scheme where housing and support are provided as an integrated package. The team supports young people aged 16+ and provides targeted and universal support. 

The past year has been tough – Covid impacted everyone’s daily life (both personal and professional). The Housing Support Officers at Roxeth Gate (Hamdi, Verlette and Karl) worked continuously throughout supporting residents and working together, blending their individual strengths to become a stronger team.  They consistently deliver a fantastic service to residents that shows YMCA SPG’s values in action; Person-centred, Community-focused, Loving, Hopeful and Holistic.  

The main housing staff: Hamdi has an amazing memory. He knows everything! And is still always learning (currently doing his CIH Level 4); he shares anything of relevance with the team.  Karl is the networker; forging and maintaining vital connections with outside agencies. He’s currently working on a resident-led podcast. Verlette stands out for the kindness and support she offers clients. She is the heart of the team. They are all outstanding individuals, but it’s how they work together that makes the YMCA a wonderful place.  

They are team players supporting each other with a person-centred approach.  They always ensure that the focus is on the needs of the residents.  They discuss issues together and reflect on situations, ensuring staff get an understanding from different perspectives.  They care about the residents and this can be seen by their actions.  Recently, RG hosted a number of VIP stakeholders, including Bishop Guli, Church of England’s Bishop for Housing and Bob Blackman MP, Co-Chair of the APPG For Ending Homelessness, ensuring that the voice of the residents was heard and demonstrating the positive impact YMCA has within Harrow and London. The RG Housing team are making a real difference to individuals and the community. 

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Crime DIversion Project Family Project YMCA SPG 1024x683 - Youth Matters 2022 Semi-Finalists

The YMCA SPG Crime Diversion Project, running at Hayes, supports young people facing immense challenges and barriers to reaching their goals. The young people we support are largely involved in complex serious violence, crime, gang affiliation and other challenges. Referred by the Ealing Youth Justice Service, we support the young people, their families, schools, social workers and statutory services to provide holistic and impactful support over 1-3 years.  

To date, we’ve worked intensely with 23 young people, giving them a safe space to belong, feel a sense of community, and provided support and care in a non-judgemental environment. We engage them with 1-2-1 sessions, personal development programmes, sports for development schemes (such as boxing), provide support when in crisis and spend on average 80 hours a year with each young person, giving them opportunities and equipping them to take their next steps to success. Our youth workers, through their approach, skills and lived experience, break down barriers and lead a positive path forward for these young people and integrate them into our larger open access youth programmes, including sports, employability, creative and youth sessions. 

The Hayes Youth Team has supported young people into university and careers, to sustain their education and access mental and physical health services.  

“It was incredible having someone on the end of the line. It came at a perfect time and it’s been brilliant having someone there to help get extra support. I didn’t have the funds to pay for this kind of support. They don’t give up –  they are actually there for my son and family. “ – Parent  

“First time I met George it was easy to be comfortable with him-  he was like a father figure looking out for you and always there for a chat. He was the biggest help.”  – Participant   


Khalsa with Sat instructors - Youth Matters 2022 Semi-Finalists

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In 2001 Satinder Sehra started a karate club in his local community at the YMCA Hawker (Kingston) and with initially only one student the club’s journey began. The club has grown at the YMCA Hawker under head instructor Satinder and became its own Karate Association in 2018 as Khalsa Karate. The club’s values continue to echo that of the YMCA; encouraging young people to be active and flourish, by building their self-esteem and confidence. Over the 21 years, the club has been a sporting success, nurturing the talents of hundreds of young people within Kingston, many of whom have gone on to represent Great Britain internationally at competitions, including the Commonwealth Games.  

Young people like Sophie who joined Khalsa Karate with Satinder when she was just six after witnessing domestic violence in her home. The club became a positive escape for Sophie and now, at 26 years old, she is 15x England Karate Champion. By her own admission, without the club she could have gone down a darker path in life. Khalsa Karate at YMCA provides local young people a safe space with trusted, positive role models that inspires international sporting achievement. The instructors volunteer their time to the club and often bridge the gap between the young people and their parents and encourage peer-to-peer support.   

“Personally my biggest achievement is the work the club has done to support the community, from children with a poor background, to abused children and vulnerable adults, to students with mental and physical issues and many more. The fact that we’ve been teaching here for 21 years shows the value of the club throughout the Borough. So much so that council have asked us to teach and cut crime on several estates by offering classes to help reduce knife and youth crime.” Satinder 


YMCAStaffstars - Youth Matters 2022 Semi-Finalists

We are nominating the People and Culture (P&C) team at YMCA St Pauls Group (SPG) for the Diversity award as over the last year they have built on good foundations to deliver an outstanding programme of activities that promotes shared conversation, understanding across a range of diverse characteristics.  

With a large, diverse but dispersed workforce, the P&C team at SPG have over the last year introduced and quickly established four Employee Resource Groups (ERG): gender, race, disability, and sexual orientation. Each ERG is chaired by a member of staff, supported by a member of the P&C team. They are safe places for staff, who identify with the particular characteristic to have a voice, to share experiences and then to suggest, challenge and support SPG to become a great place for all to work.  

The ERGs have been a massive success, providing not just a confidential discussion but also a platform to inspire and educate others. Among the many events run by the ERGs are Power Hour (an interview between a female Board member and resident for International Women’s Day), GAYMCA (a virtual lunchtime disco for PRIDE) and Lunch and Learn (a series of discussions for Black History Month). The ERGs have also had an impact in a range of other areas including the development of YMCA Wimbledon where members of the disability ERG shared their experiences of neuro diversity and how the layout of office and meeting space needs to be carefully viewed from a range of perspectives.  

Alongside the ERGs, the P&C team have also been the drivers in ensuring we have a strong dataset that can then help inform future action plans. As a result, we have gone from a few dozen people recording the diversity statistics to nearly 90% of staff. This has in turn allowed the P&C team to develop our first, ethnicity pay gap report and put in place a range of training and talent management processes. 

Find out more about all of the semi-finalists across England & Wales here.