6 August 2021

Twelve young people who have experienced local homelessness have taken on the highest mountain in England and Wales in YMCA East Surrey’s Snowdon Summit Climb Challenge 2021.

The group, led by members of the YMCA Housing Team, climbed 1,085 metres to the mountain summit to raise money for the local charity’s Employment Support Fund which helps young people into employment.

YMCA East Surrey’s Housing Services provide opportunities for people aged 16 to 30 who are facing homelessness within the local community, helping them to access housing and offering support that meets their individual needs.

YMCA Head of Housing, Lee Fabry, led the trip along with YMCA Housing Support Manager, Nicole Tootill. He says:

“Last year, we organised a camping trip for residents and wanted to take on more of a challenge this summer. The aim was to build memories, have an amazing adventure, raise money for the YMCA, and to support residents in an achievement they can be proud of. The trip was all about improving mental health, physical health, wellbeing, and mindset.”

Snowdon is one of the most famous and recognisable sights in the United Kingdom. The group travelled to Wales for three days and their climb up and down the mountain on a beautifully clear day took eight hours in total.

Assad Ali is 17-years-old and a resident at YMCA Hillbrook House. He says:

“These are memories I will keep forever. I have had such a difficult year and I am so grateful to be given this opportunity.”

20-year-old Ella Payne agrees:

“When I came to live at Hillbrook House, I thought it was just somewhere to sleep, but twelve weeks later I was sitting at the top of the world with new friends, amazing staff, and building memories I will never forget. I’m blown away”

Lee Fabry says:

“Within a month of arriving at Hillbrook House, we support any new NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) resident into Volunteering, Education, Employment or Training. If they are not ready due to personal barriers, they are enrolled instead onto one of our bespoke NEET programmes. The paramount goal of our award-winning NEET programme, Y-Focus, is to ensure that the young people are given the opportunity to thrive and achieve their goals.”

YMCA East Surrey would like to thank Dr Julie Llewelyn, the High Sheriff of Surrey, who donated over £1,700 to fund the trip and also to David Skitt and the Reigate Rotary Club for donating £338 which helped to provide walking boots and clothing for the young people who took part.

Anyone wishing to donate to YMCA East Surrey’s Employment Support Fund can still do so by using the below link. All money will go towards investing in young people who find themselves using YMCA East Surrey’s Housing service.