Horsham Y-Centre marks a decade changing the lives of young people

Horsham Y-Centre is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an open day this year. Residents and staff.  Pic Steve Robards   SR1602591 SUS-160120-095341001

Horsham Y-Centre is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an open day this year. Residents and staff. Pic Steve Robards SR1602591 SUS-160120-095341001

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The Y-Centre in Horsham is preparing to open its doors to the community for an event as part of its 10th birthday celebrations.

Since opening in Autumn 2005 the centre in Albion Way has become much more than a place where 50 disadvantaged young people are given a roof over their heads.

Run by DownsLink YMCA, has it is a home where they are given holistic support to turn their lives around.

Over the past decade the centre has forged links with schools, Horsham Football Club, community groups, businesses and councils breaking down the stigma and misunderstanding about the 16 to 25-year-olds they help.

The centre hopes the open day to be held in March will be a chance to showcase the centre’s work and raise the charity’s profile even more.

Katie Bennett, who has recently moved on from being Y-Centre project manager, said: “This will be an event for the community, partner agencies and our neighbours to drop in and come and see what we do.

“We have a lot of support already from Horsham District Council, from local businesses to help the future of the young people. These young people all come from Horsham and for whatever reason they have found themselves with nowhere to live.

“It’s also raising awareness that we are bigger than just housing. The young people are not going to stay here forever and it’s with a view that they will move on into independent living.”

Residents can take part in activities including Japanese classes, art groups, and training in life skills such as cooking and budgeting.

All these partnerships have also enabled them young people also give back to the community while building up their skills.

Residents are working in nurseries, in the homes of elderly people and one girl’s volunteering with Brighton’s homeless people has resulted in her being asked to be a mentor there.

Learning and engagement coordinator Kevin Budge said: “If people come to me saying ‘we need someone’, I have got people who want to do it.

“It’s something that young people want to do and I find it’s good for them doing it.”

One of the key partnerships they have is with Horsham Police, who often visit - and not for reasons that people might expect.

Katie said: “People think ‘there’s a police car outside the Y-Centre’. They have come in for a cup of tea.

Kevin added: “They are not in to stop trouble here. Our relationship is so good we stop things happening.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer or partner can call the centre on 01403 213403 or email horsham.reception@ymcadlg.org