What We Do

Young People at Sussex Central YMCAYoung People at Sussex Central YMCASussex Central YMCA is a big supporter of the local community offering important support to many local people where and when it matters. We want to see our community grow and develop and we want to be there to meet the changing needs and demands of people living in Sussex.


In this section you can read about how Sussex Central YMCA has progressed over the years and what we do right now in the local community and across Sussex.


Sussex Central YMCA today...

Sussex Central YMCA provides a wide range of services and support for young people and the local community such as:

  • Supported Accommodation for homeless young people and help in developing the skills needed to move on to independent living.
  • Information and support through our Youth Advice Centre in Hove on issues such as accommodation, relationships, health, education and employment.
  • Our Housing Services offer advice on all aspects of housing and homelessness for young people.
  • The Safe+Sorted Youth Advice Centre offers a range of advice, information and support services for young people based in East Brighton.
  • A Counselling Service for young people experiencing emotional or mental health problems.
  • A number of other Specialist Services, for example helping young people to tackle problems with drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Parenting and Family Support schemes that work to improve relationships between young people and their families.
  • A Youth and Sports Programme offering a positive alternative to street culture, helping young people steer clear of risks such as drug use and crime.
  • Support for Older People through our Lunch Club and community activities at the Y Centre on Marmion Road, Hove

To find out about our latest developments or contact Sussex Central YMCA call us on 01273 731724 or email reception@sussexcentralymca.org.uk.


Background to Sussex Central YMCA...

The YMCA was established in London in 1844 to provide support and Christian fellowship for young men living alone in London. The movement grew quickly and developed programmes of activities designed to provide support for both young men and women. It is now a worldwide movement being represented in over 120 countries, with 160 YMCA’s in England and Wales. You can read more about this here

Different YMCA’s vary widely in the work they do, but most work with young people in some way and the main areas of work include housing, youth work, sport and fitness and training.

Sussex Central YMCA is an independent registered charity affiliated to YMCA England, established on our present site in Marmion Road in 1919. The building on Marmion Road dates back to 1933. Throughout our history, we have provided youth work activities for the local area, and have in the past provided various education and training programmes.

The organisation experienced something of a crisis around 1990, having lost a number of significant training contracts. The Board decided to seek to preserve the youth work programme and consider possibilities for new developments. It was agreed that any focus should remain on work with young people, as this is the ‘core business’ of the YMCA.

Research was carried out that demonstrated that there was a need in the city for:-

  • Advice and Information for young people
  • Housing Advice and provision for young people

Therefore, through extensive consultations with key agencies, including health and social services and young people themselves, we developed two significant new projects in 1994/5

  • Youth Advice Centre to provide general advice, housing advice and counselling to young people aged 14 – 25. This was originally set up at Marmion Road, Hove but subsequently moved to Blatchington Road, Hove
  • Lansworth House Supported Housing Scheme for 18 homeless young people aged 16 – 25

These two initiatives acted as a spring board for much of our subsequent developments – largely as a response to user demand linked to funding opportunities. We have also sought to use our growing experience of working with marginalized and disadvantaged young people to influence strategic planning in the city through representation in various strategic planning forums.

Throughout this time, we have also retained our focus on the local community in West Hove, providing clubs, activities and sports programmes for young people, and a lunch club for older people at our Marmion Road premises. The local community, including minority groups, also make use of the premises for various activities.

Major Growth...

Major growth in services over the last ten years:

  • Our Counselling Service initially provided a small number of sessions each week at the Youth Advice Centre. It has now expanded to become a major service in its own right working in over 40 primary and secondary schools in Brighton & Hove and across Sussex as well as continuing to deliver services in the community.
  • A large number of projects and services have developed under the Youth Advice Centre umbrella including a separate housing advice & tenancy support service in central Brighton and various family support services. The Youth Advice Centre in Hove has become a focal point for delivery of the community based Connexions service for the West of the City.
  • Our residential housing provision has expanded from an initial 18 bedspaces to provide accommodation for over 80 young people.

Recent Developments...

We have continued to extend the range of services that we offer, and developments over the last two years include:-

  • Sexual Health work with young people across the City
  • Advice and counselling services in East Brighton
  • A significant expansion of our sports work at Marmion Road
  • Accredited training and youth volunteering schemes
  • Further extending our range of supported housing provision
  • An Allotment Project for Homeless Young People
  • An excting new Mental Health Project designed by young people

We have grown steadily over the last 15 years, from a turnover of around £50,000 in 1990 to just under £4 million in 2009. We employ 240 staff (including those working in our shops) and have around 10,000 people using our services each year. 40% of our staff are volunteers and we are adding new volunteer opportunities all the time.

Charity Shops...

We opened our first Charity Shop in 1995 using premises in George Street, Hove. The purpose of opening a Charity shop was to generate unrestricted funds in order to fund new and existing project work.

To date we have six Charity shops across Brighton & Hove including most recently the opening of a shop at Hove household waste site. Our focus has been on developing a market niche, and so we have concentrated on selling non clothes items. Four of our shops are primarily dedicated to furniture and one to electrical goods. Our electrical shop has also started selling new electrical goods in partnership with a local retailer.

The shops also provide volunteer and training opportunities for offenders, those with mental health problems and New Deal placements.

The Future...

In recent years there has been a distinct trend for the Government to encourage the development of Partnerships with the Voluntary Sector, and the contracting out of services by local and national government. This has been taken a stage further by the recent Government report which reviews the role of charities and removes some of the constraints on their operation.

Sussex Central YMCA has developed a number of strategic partnership initiatives with the City Council in recent years, and we have made efforts to contribute to partnership development and strategic planning at a number of levels (e.g. Homelessness Strategy, Children and Young People’s Trust Development, Connexions, Local Strategic Partnership, Every Child Matters Outcomes). Therefore, we are well placed to take advantage of new partnership work.

The main areas where opportunities are likely to arise are:-

  • Development of Extended and Healthy Schools/Integrated Family Support Teams – this may present opportunities to extend our Counselling, Home-School Liaison and sport and fitness programme.
  • Prevention of Homelessness – This is a key focus for the Homelessness Directorate. Many of YAC’s services are regarded as preventative. The Council is under pressure to eliminate the need to provide Bed & Breakfast for young people and families, and our Family Support and Mediation services will help them to achieve this.
  • Every Child Matters – One of the most significant recent developments has been the introduction of Every Child Matters which sets clear outcomes for every child and young person to achieve. These outcomes determine national and local priorities for service provision and funding distribution. Many of our services are clearly aligned with ECM outcomes and this presents us with significant opportunities.
  • Health Agenda – The National Service Framework for Children and Young People advocates the development of more accessible, community-based mental health services. Our counselling service is well positioned to take up any opportunities that may arise
  • Housing Provision & Supporting People – There is clearly a need in Brighton & Hove for more supported housing and tenancy support provision for young people. This is a well established service area for Sussex Central YMCA and therefore increasing capacity would be relatively straightforward.
  • Recycling – European Legislation is raising the profile of environmental and recycling programmes. Our concentration on recycling electrical goods has helped us to prepare for any opportunities that might present in this area
  • Community Empowerment/Development – The Government is keen to encourage the development of safer and stronger communities. Sussex Central YMCA is well rooted in the local community, and is able to act as an enabler to develop better provision in Central and West Hove.
  • Substance and Alcohol Misuse – The Government recognizes the high cost of dealing with the consequences of substance and alcohol misuse, and it is likely that this will remain a high agenda item for the Government for some time to come. We have good experience of working with young people who use drugs and alcohol and have developed effective services specifically addressing these issues over the past two to three years which we can build upon. We want to develop and extend our range of services designed to reduce harm and anti-social behaviour as a result of excessive use of alcohol and drugs.
  • Parent and Family Support – The Government has recognised in recent legislation and reports the importance of supporting families and equipping parents. Our successful parent support and mediation programme could be developed and extended across the City.

Our development has been and is likely to remain dynamic. We need to constantly “keep our eye on the ball” in terms of changing Government agendas and priorities, and be able to respond quickly to new opportunities, whilst remaining clear about our own priorities and strategic direction.

We also need to review our geographical remit as opportunities to provide services become available outside of Brighton & Hove. We are already providing excellent services at Mid Sussex YMCA and there are many other partners across Sussex where our expertise could prove useful.

To find out more about Sussex Central YMCA call us on 01273 731724 or email reception@sussexcentralymca.org.uk.





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We are interested in renting your property, doing it up and letting it out. For more info call: 01273 222550 or email us:

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