28 March 2022

YMCA East Surrey organised a memorable trip for six young people who have experienced homelessness to explore the historic Viking Coastal Trail in Kent last week.

Two nights of free accommodation at The Grange – a Gothic Revival styled house built in the 1840’s – was provided through the Landmark Trust’s ’50 for Free’ programme, which offers self-catering breaks in its historic buildings to the nominees of charities and non-profit organisations.

Lee Fabry, YMCA East Surrey’s Head of Housing, was one of the staff members who accompanied the six young people aged between 16 and 20. He says:

“The Grange was beyond beautiful and more than a little scary! The trip provided a fantastic platform for our young people to take part in an action-packed health and wellbeing challenge, completing a 15-mile trek along the famous Viking Coastal Trail with its dramatic coastal scenery, historic towns and bloodthirsty Viking history, all wrapped up in one stunning route.”

“I’d like to thank the Landmark Trust for this amazing opportunity. The young people had a wonderful time and gained multiple health and wellbeing skills and strategies during their time away.”

In addition to the physical exertions, the group took part in further bonding activities, including cooking together and a quiz.

Ella Payne, 19, is a resident at YMCA Hillbrook House in Redhill which provides accommodation and support for homeless young people aged 16-30. She says:

“I had the best time ever – the house we stayed in was breath-taking and the views on the Viking trail were just wow! My legs were aching at the end but being rewarded with fish and chips on the beach made every step worth it. It was awesome!”