20 June 2023

With funding from the National Lottery, YMCA East Surrey organised a trip for ten young people from its Youth Clubs to climb Mount Snowdon in North Wales.

“Our aim was to encourage the group to challenge themselves, make friends, grow in resilience and enjoy the beautiful scenery, while engaging in conversations about what it is that young people want and need within our youth club settings and the wider community,” says YMCA Youth Worker, Fiona Oldam.

Four members of YMCA staff accompanied the young people aged 12 to 17 who attend YMCA Youth Clubs in Redhill, Merstham and Horley and the YMCA WAVES Youth Group, which provides a safe space those who have experienced mental health difficulties.

The group spent two nights at YHA Snowdon Pen-y-pass in Llanberis, Wales, following a brief lunchtime stop in Stratford for lunch on the way. Raising money which will go towards the charity’s Life Change Fund, the young people tackled the 8-mile climb in beautiful weather, taking in stunning views from the top of Mount Snowdon. On the descent, they cooled off with a paddle in one of the picturesque tarns – a big highlight of the day.

The National Lottery have provided a grant of £414,000 over three years for YMCA East Surrey to provide two residential trips each year to build leadership skills and encourage dialogue to discover what issues are important to local young people.

YMCA East Surrey’s Youth Clubs are funded by The National Lottery and The Geoff Herrington Foundation, with additional support from Surrey County Council and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council.

Fiona says:

“Watching the young people unite as a group, help and support each other and come away with new friendships was immensely rewarding. The trip gave them the chance to learn life lessons and find coping mechanisms for their mental health, all while learning about the natural world.”

Stuart Kingsley is the YMCA’s Family Services and Youth Work Manager. He says:

“At YMCA East Surrey, we strongly believe in taking away barriers to participation for our young people, so they have opportunities to develop and overcome fears. For some of the group, this was a first – to travel so far and climb a mountain of 1,000 metres high. Giving them a memory for life was never in doubt!”

Bonnie Taylor, aged 14, attends the YMCA Horley Youth Club. Speaking after the trip, she said:

“It was very fun – harder and more challenging than I thought! The views were amazing, especially the sun setting from the hostel.  I would definitely do a trip like this again.”

Another YMCA residential trip is planned for July, when a group of 20 junior and senior school pupils will enjoy a camping weekend in Southampton.

Details for YMCA East Surrey Youth Clubs can be found here