YMCA Derbyshire scoops national awards

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The Foyer Federation’s annual Spark Awards took place recently, where a trio of awards were presented to Bondholder YMCA Derbyshire for inspiring work with young people in the local community.

From the five shortlisted entries, YMCA Derbyshire was proud to pick up ‘Best Partnership Award’ for its established sports programme with Derby County Community Trust, ‘Positive Move-on Award’ for previous resident Katrina Pargma, and ‘Young Person’s Choice Award’ for health and wellbeing staff member Claire Ragg.

The Spark Awards recognise the often ‘un-sung’ contributions of Foyers, such as YMCA Derbyshire, who have a common goal to provide a safe and enriching environment where individual and vulnerable young people can be supported to reach their potential.

Award-winner Katrina is one such individual who recently experienced a successful ‘move-on’ into her own privately rented accommodation after being with the YMCA for more than three years. Kat came to the YMCA at a time when she was reclusive. She began through the YMCA Foyer project, to engage and volunteer with The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust programme, as well as attending regular Derby County Community Trust fitness activities. Kat also became Chairwoman for YMCA Derbyshire’s residents committee, SOLID, and still participates as the only original group member, and a valued representative of young people.

The Derby County Community Trust relationship began more than two years ago with a discussion about how the two organisations could work together to benefit each other’s client group. A sports, fitness, health and wellbeing programme was therefore jointly developed that has become firmly established as part of YMCA Derbyshire’s weekly curriculum offer.

There has been a marked improvement in residents’ fitness, health and general wellbeing. One resident’s case study highlights this point: “The Sports Programme along with the supper club have been the two things that have improved my health and fitness. I am eating healthy food and lost a stone and a half in weight and I also feel fitter.” This marks the second time YMCA Derbyshire have won the Best Partnership Award; last year the award was presented for our partnership with Toyota UK.

Claire Ragg was nominated by a resident for her invaluable support in helping a young YMCA Derbyshire resident, Joao, to achieve their wellbeing goals following a stroke. Claire, together with Derby County Community Trust, have helped Joao to negotiate physio, secure membership at the local gym, and rebuild relationships and confidence. Joao now swims, walks, and gets involved with the positive things that are happening at the YMCA Derbyshire.

Gillian Sewell, CEO YMCA Derbyshire, said “We are overjoyed to be the recipient of three Foyer Federation Awards, which recognise the positive journey we are on since becoming Foyer accredited in November last year. These awards are truly testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff, residents and our partners, to transcend stereotypes and promote social mobility that inspires confidence in all young people regardless of background. We are truly humbled by this fantastic achievement.”