Luke tells us how YMCA helped to change his life
Luke is one of many young people who has benefited from the great work of YMCA Trinity Group. He was asked a few questions and to reflect on his time as a resident. This is his story.
Before Luke was offered accommodation and support at Queen Anne House, he was living with his partner in private renting but the relationship broke down and in his own words, he got into “a rough patch”. In January 2019, Luke was referred by South Cambs council to YMCA Trinity Group.
Eileen, Accommodation Project Worker, took on Luke as one of her residents as she previously knew him from the time Luke’s brother lived at QAH. She said “When Luke became a YMCA resident he was not in a good place mentally but I knew that once he got the right support and guidance he would overcome his issues and get back to working full time and then he would be ready to get his own place.”
Since day one at QAH, Luke says he has received “good support from multiple staff members” and it was the support “I needed to get me to where I am now”.
One of Luke’s main aims was getting back into work but within a part time capacity. “I was struggling with my mental health, I didn’t want to bite too much off that I couldn’t chew. So it was about slowly getting back into work”. A part of this process was aided by our Dan Goddard, Employment Support Worker, who has been instrumental in securing Luke a role at Cambridge United as a steward.
Another particular person that Luke mentions as being a “great influence” during his time at QAH is Martin. Martin works in the gym and has supported Luke in his Level 1 personal training qualification. “He gave me another route to go down, he’s opened another door for me opportunity-wise”. The course will give Luke another possible ‘career path’ and the time and work spent with Martin has given him confidence to support other gym members should they be struggling or needing assistance. “I do muck in and around other people. For instance there’s an old gentleman and a blind gentleman who I help out with when I’m in the gym. If they need help or they aren’t doing a routine in a right way, I go over and show them”.
Another aim that Eileen worked on with Luke was resettlement and finding him a place of his own. After applying and being accepted by Hope into Action, Luke has now given a place in a two bedroom shared house in Barnwell.
Luke said “a massive weight is off my shoulders” now he has secured the new shared accommodation. “I enjoy coming back to my nice environment. My safe place”. Although he appreciates the support he has received from YMCA, Luke now feels “relieved” that his life is back on track and he has independency once again.
When asked to reflect on his time living at YMCA, Luke said “It was a nice stepping stone. It’s not a dead end here. When I first moved in I wasn’t sure where I’d end up or the direction I was going in. But as time has gone on, and with the opportunities with the gym and Cambridge United, I’m now in a good place thanks to the staff who have supported me. YMCA have definitely helped me with some life skills and to carry them into the right direction”.
Eileen adds “Luke has worked hard to acquire his new shared accommodation and his new role as a steward with Cambridge United. My hopes is that he will settle himself down and continue to be a kind, friendly and engaging young man. I hope he will manage his mental health effectively, get himself a job, gain his Level 2 Personal Training certificate and then get his own accommodation.”
This is just one example of the fantastic work that our accommodation teams do to help young people get back onto their feet and have a brighter future. No matter the background or struggles that a young person has endured, YMCA is always available to support and transform lives for the better.
Thank you Luke for sharing your story and all the best for the future!