YMCA Birmingham calls on community to give them their vote ahead of prestigious national youth awards ceremony

August 5, 2016

Princess Anne with Alan Fraser CEO YMCA BirminghamThe Princess Royal and CEO Alan Fraser at opening ceremony of The Chris Bryant Centre May 2016

YMCA Birmingham is asking local people to give them their backing ahead of a prestigious national youth awards ceremony hosted this autumn by TV presenter, June Sarpong MBE.

The local youth charity, which has operated in Birmingham for the past 167 years has been shortlisted as YMCA of the Year in Youth Matters Awards 2016.

Youth Matters is YMCA’s national awards programme that has been an integral part of the charity’s calendar since 2009.

YMCA Birmingham is up against four other YMCAs within its award category. Other award categories are Young Achiever of the Year, Young Leader of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year and Young Worker of the Year.

They have been entered for the award because of their excellent work at The Orchard and The Chris Bryant Centre in Erdington, Birmingham. In 2009 the organisation lost 30% of its income over night following cuts in the supporting people grants.

This shock to the system saw the youth charity reinvent their business model. Today they now provide more accommodation and work with more young people than ever before.

Their focus is no longer just on government income, but on generating their own resources through social enterprises offering education, training, volunteering, and employment opportunities on site to young people – and the local community – as well as surpluses for reinvestment in the charity. This forward thinking initiative is what has cemented YMCA Birmingham a place in the semi- finals of this years awards.

Voting starts online at midnight on Thursday 4 August and runs until midnight on Monday 15 August. Votes cast by the public will be combined with judges’ choices and the top three nominees will be announced in September. All three will attend the finals night at the exclusive venue 8 Northumberland Avenue, in central London, where the winner will be announced.

Alan Fraser, Chief Executive of YMCA Birmingham, said: “We are overjoyed and excited to be nominated for such a significant award and to have reached this stage of the process.

“2016 will be recorded as a hugely significant year in the history of YMCA Birmingham. It marked the culmination of ten years’ planning, fundraising and development which finally saw the completion of our flagship development, The Orchard. This success has extra significance in the context of the journey that YMCA Birmingham has been on. In 2009 we lost 30% of our income overnight following cuts in Supporting People grant. So in many ways the completion of The Orchard is symbolic for the rebirth and renewal of YMCA Birmingham. We really hope therefore that people will support us to get to the final, where we’re confident the judges will back us.”

Youth Matters celebrates the outstanding skills and achievements of young people from across the country. It also recognises the vital work that YMCAs deliver every day to help transform the lives of young people and give them a brighter future.

The YMCA of the Year Award recognises a YMCA that has delivered in the past 12 months an innovative and inspiring local project, programme or scheme, which has created a tangible and positive impact on young people and the wider community.

Vote for YMCA of the Year at www.ymca.org.uk/awards. Follow Youth Matters on Twitter or receive updates at #YMA16.

For more information on Youth Matters, visit www.ymca.org.uk/awards. For more information on YMCA Birmingham, visit http://ymcabirmingham.org.uk/