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Southend YMCA 1919 Palmeira Hotel.jpg

100 Years of
Southend YMCA


1887 - 1903

​The story begins, Southend YMCA was founded, providing a men’s hostel and pastoral care on Weston 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 from the  Shoebury Garrison, 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.


1993 - 1995

After many years considering options, a site was secured on Ambleside Drive.  The Newlands building was constructed providing 30 flats for homeless young people.


2005 - 2009

Southend YMCA starts to offer alternative education opportunities and also opens a music studio. Engagement in the arts is so important for young people’s self expression and wellbeing

By 2005 The SOS Bus project is launched, providing support and first aid for people using the night-time economy at Southend High Street. This innovative project brings together police emergency service and community volunteers.


2010 - 2011

Southend YMCA flexes its green credentials. The Eco-Hub opens its doors - a retro-fitted Victorian stable for young people to use show casing a carbon reduction lifestyle for the next generation. 

Southend YMCA starts to forge international relationships, partnering with YMCA France to set up cultural exchanges.


2012 - 2014

After 7 years of offering alternative education, Southend YMCA founds the Southend YMCA Community School. Each Year school provides a combined a GCSE and pastoral programme for vulnerable learners with direct funding from the Department for Education and commissioning schools. This subsidiary company to the main charity.

We launch our flagship homelessness fundraiser, Sleep Easy, and stage our first annual awards to celebrate the young people’s achievements.

We are awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for the SOS Bus project. The highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK,  recognising outstanding work done in communities.


2015 - 2020

Southend YMCA becomes a housing association and repurposes floor space in Newlands to create 7 additional housing units.  

We proudly achieve the Investors In People Gold standard award.



Southend YMCA starts a exciting new venture mYplace, a Children’s Home for three children aged between 11-17 years old. 

Currently, Southend YMCA  works intensively with 1600 children, young people and their families through outcome based projects. And we reached 1000’s more through community intitatives, events and online interactions. 


Discover how our global youth charity celebrated 175 years supporting young people and communities around the world.


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