24 February 2015

YMCA East Surrey has plans to expand their work supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people in the Tandridge area.

“We want to sustain and develop a variety of youth projects in Tandridge to help local young people reach their full potential,” explains YMCA Chief Executive, Ian Burks.

Heads Together, the YMCA’s youth counselling project, currently offers sessions in Tandridge from Oxted URC Church and Warlingham School.  With 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5-16 currently suffering from a diagnosable mental health disorder, demand for the service is at an all-time high.

“Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression,” says Ian Burks, “It’s vital for counselling to be available at an early stage to prevent mental health problems escalating.”

The Onside Inclusive Sports Club helps young people with disabilities to get active, make friends and become more independent.  Popular Onside activities in Tandridge currently include dance, Boccia, cycling and multi sports sessions, operating from venues which include the Orpheus Centre, Limpsfield Grange School and the De Stafford Sports Centre.

YMCA East Surrey currently manages its centre-based Youth Work through Harry’s Youth Centre, Oxted, and The Street, Caterham.  In other districts, they offer STREET TALK detached youth work, ESCAPE holiday diversionary schemes and EXPRESS YOURSELF IT creative workshops and the charity is keen to expand this work to Tandridge.

“Youth Work is an effective way to engage with young people at risk of becoming NEET – Not in Education, Employment or Training.  It helps build self-worth and employability,” says Ian Burks, “plus preventing anti-social behaviour.”

Many YMCA projects are supported by an awe-inspiring programme of fundraising Challenge events.  Last year, over 2,000 Challengers had amazing adventures and raised more than £120,000.

“We have some wonderful Challenges still available to book this year,” says Ian.  “Anyone is welcome. Come and walk Hadrian’s Wall with us or cycle to either Bruges in Belgium or Mont Ventoux in France.  Have the experience of a lifetime and help raise vital funds while you do it!”