Guildford YMCA’s Life Change Fund exists, quite simply, to change the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in Guildford. Growing up is a difficult thing to do for all of us – but imagine growing up without the support of your family, or a positive role model. Lacking that encouragement, and a sense of purpose or belonging, it's all too easy for young people to end up involved with drugs, alcohol and anti-social or criminal behaviour, never having chance to fulfil their potential.
Here at Guildford YMCA, we have provided that support to thousands of young people who need a helping hand to realise their abilities and shine. . . The Life Change Fund raises the money we need to do this.
The Life Change Fund launched on 31st January 2005 and was the brainchild of Reverend Jeff Wattley and Martin Down who, keen to put their money where their mouth is and do something positive for local youngsters, undertook the challenge of the ARC 2004 Transatlantic Boat Race. In doing this these two intrepid sailors raised £30,488 from this challenge, and the idea caught on - leading to all kinds of fundraising activities. Other donations and pledges of support quickly followed.
All money raised through the Life Change Fund is used to support Guildford YMCA’s innovative and successful projects, which develop, support and inspire young people to achieve and fulfil their potential. These projects include:
- Plantation Café – safe alcohol free environment in which young people can socialise, relax and find friendship and support.
- Prince’s Trust Teams – a challenging, full-time 12 week programme designed to transform lives and build futures.
- Open House Counselling - a listening ear for young people to talk about, work through and deal with any problems, no matter how big or small, in confidence.
- Plantation Trading - a real gardening business training young people in work and life skills while delivering a quality garden maintenance service throughout the year
"We depend on organisations such as the YMCA to enable highly disadvantaged young people to escape a life of poverty of mind, body and spirit and develop the potential they all have."
Mike Woodhouse, Former Chairman, The Prince's Trust (Volunteers)