17 October 2019

On Friday 11th October YMCA Exeter held its fourth annual fundraising dinner at Woodbury Park Hotel with guests including: Karime Hassan, CEO of Exeter City Council; John Laramy, Principal of Exeter College; and Gill Hayes, Mental Health Champion and Tedx Exeter speaker.

The Gala Dinner was attended by 170 people and through ticket sales, a silent auction and individual pledges, over £5,000 has been raised for YMCA Exeter’s new mental health project, ‘Resilience’.  

YMCA Exeter was founded in 1846 as a Christian youth charity and we are committed to supporting young people reach their full potential in body, mind and spirit.

Our projects include supported accommodation for 16-29 year olds, youth services, offender rehabilitation and now, an overarching mental health provision for young people at the YMCA as well as those struggling to cope in the wider community through a partnership with Wellbeing Exeter.   

YMCA Exeter residents were amongst the guests at the Gala Dinner and the key note address was delivered by mental health campaigner, Gill Hayes who, after an unsuccessful suicide attempt in 2013, spoke about her journey to recovery and the power of community support.

Gareth Sorsby, Joint CEO at YMCA Exeter says:

“We are currently in the midst of a mental health epidemic. Nationally 1 in 8 of all children and 1 in 6 of all young people aged 16-24 have symptoms of a common mental disorder. Locally 87% of the young people we support at YMCA Exeter struggle with poor mental health, including depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder and PTSD. This often leaves them unable to engage with others or complete daily tasks and really affects their ability to cope with other life challenges such as family breakdown and unemployment. 

“Our Resilience Project is aimed at building resilience in young people so they can cope during times of mental ill health as well as teaching them mental wellness in order to prevent mental ill health. The project will train young peer mentors to talk about their experience in educational workshops delivered to local schools, churches and businesses, and will also signpost young people who require crisis intervention to trained practitioners and counsellors.

“Our thanks to everyone who attended the Gala Dinner, with your support we can build resilience in our young people and help them thrive.”

To find out more about the project and YMCA Exeter services please visit: https://wellbeing.ymcaexeter.org.uk/i-need-support/mental-health/.