YMCA Suffolk’s CYPS Houses project reaches finals of prestigious national youth awards ceremony
A YMCA Suffolk accommodation project has reached the finals of a prestigious national youth awards ceremony, due to be hosted by TV presenter June Sarpong MBE.
The local youth charity, which has operated in Suffolk for the past 143 years, will compete against the YMCA Downslink Group and YMCA London South West for the title of YMCA Accommodation Project of the Year in the annual Youth Matters Awards.
Youth Matters is YMCA’s national awards programme that has been an integral part of the charity’s calendar since 2009. Other categories at Youth Matters include YMCA of the Year, Young Leader of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year, Young Achiever of the Year and Young Worker of the Year.
YMCA’s CYPS Houses project made it through to the finals after being shortlisted by YMCA judges and finishing in the top three of a rigorous public vote. It was nominated as it was felt it had made such a positive impact on the young people. The CYPS Houses project provides accommodation to 16 to 18-year-olds who are in care, care leavers or are unaccompanied asylum seekers. They are high need and vulnerable young people.
The project has 15 beds in Ipswich and each young person receives intensive support 24/7. The project has given those young people most at risk a place to settle and grow in an environment where they feel confident to achieve, aspire and engage.
Many of the young people who live within the CYPS Houses come from chaotic backgrounds and have had an unsettled transition into young adulthood. The staff within the CYPS Houses provide the young people with stability, boundaries and support while giving them a chance to have fun and socialise with peers as a typical teenager.
The project supports many asylum seekers who come from various and diverse backgrounds, but all who have travelled many miles in dangerous modes of transport and fled hostile environments. One young person who came from Afghanistan in the back of a lorry, traveling for days without food or drink, was supported by staff to find a GP, dentist and optician. He has since been helped by Suffolk refugee services, English school of language and began the Passport 4 Independence. With the support of staff at YMCA Suffolk MS has flourished, he is able to communicate effectively, is exploring his new home, feels settled and has made many friends.
CYPS Houses recently secured a further two years of funding that allowed it to expand to four houses with 15 beds. This is a great accomplishment and demonstrates the exceptional work undertaken with the young people.
Rowena Kerslake, Chief Executive of YMCA Suffolk said: “We feel incredibly privileged to be a finalist at these prestigious awards. We are representing everything great about YMCA, including our staff, volunteers and young people.
“We hope everyone in the local community is proud of us and what we have achieved.”
The overall winner in each category will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony at the exclusive central London venue, 8 Northumberland Avenue, on Friday 4 November.
Youth Matters celebrates the outstanding skills and achievements of young people from across the country. It also recognises the vital work that YMCAs deliver every day to help transform the lives of young people and give them a brighter future.
The YMCA Accommodation Project of the Year award recognises YMCAs that have delivered innovative and inspiring projects that have had a tangible and positive impact on young people and/or the wider community.
For more information on Youth Matters, visit www.ymca.org.uk/awards. For more information on YMCA Suffolk, visit www.ymcasuffolk.org.uk.