cafe shop paris street support homeless

4 June 2018

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”

We’ve joined together with over 20 local churches to bring a whole heap of joy to the City of Exeter.

Beginning on Monday 4th June and culminating on ‘Back to Church Sunday’, 10th June, we will be taking part in acts of kindness which bless our young people, our staff, our volunteers and our city.

So stay tuned for stories and photos of abundant joy lavished on Exeter this week…

Day 1:

We thought we would kick off YMCA Exeter’s Joyfest week by blessing Exeter City Council’s Enforcement Team. This is the team responsible for things like illegal parking, litter, environmental health, children’s play areas and graffiti across Exeter. This team do a fantastic job keeping our city clean and safe by probably never get recognised for it, so we wanted to say thank you to them and to bring some JOY to their Monday. We popped down to the Civic Centre during the morning with a goody bag of nice tea bags, hot chocolate, milk, chocolate biscuits and strawberries to make their breaks a little more blessed, along with a thank you card (and a Joyfest card too)!


Day 2: 

Today, JOY has come in all sorts of sizes. In the morning we thanked the Manager of Exeter Community Centre (where YMCA has an office), Ramona Nash, for all her hard work and dedication in making the centre a great place to work. We presented her with a beautiful orchid and a card signed by the team. ymca support management

Later in the afternoon we quite literally took JOY to the streets and gave a free ice-cream to residents, staff and passers-by. Who doesn’t enjoy a Mr Whippy to brighten their Tuesday afternoon!?!!



Day 3:

Today’s shenanigans saw us pay for people’s car parking tickets, gifting partner agencies with flowers and fresh fruit and sorting the transport out for a homeless man who needed to get from Exeter to Sidmouth for an appointment.

Head to our Twitter page for lots of photos but below we thought we’d share this lovely video created by one of our Support Workers, Andy Mackay. Andy was part of the team sharing JOY with the Police Station, Magistrates Court and the users of the Triangle Car Park.

Day 4:

We can’t possibly share all the Joyfest acts that we’ve undertaken so far this week, partly because there have been a lot (!), and partly because some have to stay confidential between us and the beneficiaries. However, we can tell you that on day 4, said beneficiaries were bowled over by our act of JOY; they felt it was completed unexpected and they were so thankful we shared Joyfest with them.

Check out this beautiful poem we stumbled across outside Exeter Cathedral on our travels – just perfect for this week’s activity!

Day 5:

On day 5 we spread JOY in the form of Friday drinks. Drinks were on our Executive Lead Gareth Sorsby, and we shared stories about how the Joyfest had brought the team together and shown love to so many different types of people. The week may be over, but we are certainly overflowing with JOY!

Find out more and get involved by heading to:

YMCA Twitter

YMCA Facebook

Joyfest website