100 Years of Southend YMCA


1887 - 1903

​The story begins, Southend YMCA is founded providing a hostel and Christian pastoral care on Western Rd, just off Southend High Street - view photo


YMCA does it’s bit for the wartime efforts, providing a canteen and recreational facility for soldiers on Shoebury High Street, as well as on Pall Mall in Leigh-On-Sea. During this time it was known as 'Southend & District YMCA' - view photo


1918 - 1965

In the summer of 1919 YMCA ran a holiday camp out of the Palmeira Hotel in Westcliff - view photo.


That same year the owner of a building at the top of Southend High Street, now the Victoria shopping centre, writes to YMCA to offer the use of premises as a hostel for soldiers and sailors.

For reasons unknown, there isn't a great deal more records of a local YMCA movement during this time.


1980 - 1992

The story begins... again. A revival of the YMCA movement begins, offering a drop-in youth centre in the form of a caravan and a youth worker on the Kursaal Estate.


Eventually, the decision is made to seek funding and a suitable site to build supported accommodation for homeless young people.

Caravan (a)-01.png

1993 - 1995

After over 10 years of struggling to find the resources to build supported accommodation, Newlands House, on Ambleside Drive providing 30 flats for young people is built.


2005 - 2009

Southend YMCA starts to offer education opportunities and opens its music studio for the first time.

By 2005 The SOS Bus project is launched, providing support and first aid to the night-time economy and a project to encourage youth volunteering.


2010 - 2011

The SOS Bus project expands its offering with a double-decker bus in Basildon and the Eco-Hub opens its doors, a retro-fitted Victorian stable for young business start-ups.

We start to forge international relationships, partnering with YMCA France to set up cultural exchanges.


2012 - 2014

After 7 years of offering alternative education, Southend YMCA successfully gets funding to open a Department for Education free school.

Launch of our flagship homelessness fundraiser, Sleep Easy, and first annual awards to celebrate the achievements of the now over 2000 service users.

We are awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service for the SOS Buses project, the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities.


2015 - 2020

Southend YMCA purchases Newlands House and 7 additional flats are built.  We receive government standard accreditation from the Regulator of Social Housing and Social Landlords.

We proudly achieve the Investors In People Gold standard award, for our work to lead and support our people and actively make work better.


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