YMCA East Surrey signed a five-year lease in January to take over the Horley Family and Youth Centre in Albert Road, Horley, on behalf of Surrey County Council.
“The main purpose of our involvement is to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for children, young people and their families in the heart of the Horley community,” says YMCA Family Services and Youth Work Manager, Stuart Kingsley.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for many and needs in this area are especially high as the proximity to Gatwick Airport means that the community has been hit hard by the current pandemic. We aim to create a welcoming, safe and caring environment where our staff will work together with families to help them achieve better life opportunities.”
Although the centre is currently affected by the national COVID-19 lockdown, Family Centre staff and youth workers are continuing to provide essential face-to-face support for families as well as offering telephone, virtual and online advice and activities.
YMCA East Surrey plans to use the building for services including the delivery of family support, counselling, targeted youth work and community activities as soon as government guidelines allow.
Judith Brooks, YMCA East Surrey’s Head of Children and Young People, says:
“Our YMCA Horley Family Centre team is trained and experienced in helping families work through a wide variety of challenges, such as separation and divorce, domestic abuse, financial hardship, problems engaging with education, behavioural issues, communication breakdowns and parenting skills.”
“When we re-open to the public, we will run an open access youth club for ages 11 to 16, as well as WAVES group sessions which will support young people with their mental health. We are keen to give young people the chance to shape their own programme of activities, while also encouraging and facilitating other local groups and new activities.”
Surrey County Council is currently focusing its Family Centre resources on helping the families most in need of support, leaving other organisations, such as charities and health visitors to deliver universal services, support groups, activities, events and more from the centres and at other community venues.
Ian Burks, Chief Executive of YMCA East Surrey, says:
“This venture is very much a partnership approach and we are delighted to be working with Surrey County Council and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to deliver support to the entire Horley community and, in particular, those who have been most impacted by COVID-19.”
YMCA East Surrey has also received recent confirmation of a £600,000 grant from Homes England which will enable them to proceed with the next phase of a new supported Move-On project in Horley.
The charity plans to purchase a shared house which will become home to 12 young people aged 18 to 25 at risk of homelessness who are ready for more independent living. Two further YMCA East Surrey Move-on properties are located in Redhill and Merstham.