1 April 2019

“YMCA has been a life-changing opportunity for me and I hope other people my age can know about the YMCA too.”

“My name is Jess, I’m 20 years old and I’ve lived at YMCA Exeter for one year this April. I first moved to St David’s Hill and after staying there for nine months I moved on to one of the YMCA houses in Newcourt where I’ve been since January.

Before the YMCA I was a young carer for my Dad who has been an alcoholic all my life. He also has epilepsy, so I had to look after him and make sure he always took his medicine. I eventually decided it was right for me to move out so I asked my Bright Futures* Worker, Lynda, about what my options were and where I could move too. I had two choices for Supported Accommodation but as soon as I walked in to the YMCA for my tour I got such a good vibe that I knew it was for me.

I quickly began to make friends and get to know my neighbours living in the residential centre and I’ve taken part in loads of things from the weekly cooking group to helping run the YMCA pop-up Communicafe. Both are real highlights, at the cooking group we get given recipe cards and I love trying out all the different healthy recipes, and with the Communicafe it genuinely felt like a real job to me even though it lasted only a couple of weeks.

There are other things I like to take part in, I go the music group on Mondays and the British Sign Language classes on Wednesdays. The activities help me so much to learn life skills, get my confidence up and make new friends.

When I lived with my Dad I couldn’t do these things and it used to really upset me that I couldn’t invite my friends round. Now I live in a community with my friends, I work for a cleaning company at Ikea and I’m so much more independent.

YMCA has been a life-changing opportunity for me and I hope other people my age can know about the YMCA too.”

*Bright Futures supports young adult carers across Devon.

To find out about applying for supported accommodation at YMCA Exeter, head to our applications page.