November 10, 2017

YMCA Birmingham resident, Gabriel Imevbore has won the title of Young Leader of the Year in the prestigious Youth Matters Awards 2017.

The awards ceremony, which was held on Friday 3rd November in London, is the YMCA federation’s national awards programme that has been an integral part of the charity’s calendar since 2009.

Gabriel, who is 20 years old and from Sutton Coldfield, currently lives at the YMCA residence in Erdington, Birmingham. He came to YMCA in November 2016 as a young resident due to fractured relationships at home. Since living at YMCA, he has continuously tried to improve the day-to-day lives of other young people that live here, inspiring others to achieve their full potential.

On winning the award, Gabriel said: “It feels great to be recognised for the things I’ve been pushing to implement for young people within YMCA Birmingham, but more so, it means there is more hard work to be done!

“Winning this award is such an honour and I believe it will open up more doors and opportunities to implement change. The hard work starts now though with future opportunities that are out there.

“My focus for next year is to expand on my career as a motivational speaker and as a YMCA Youth Ambassador, I believe there’s a chance to motivate individuals that might be struggling and want to acquire a new mind set for achievement.”

Gabriel passionately advocates for homeless young people and is now a motivational speaker, visiting schools to encourage young people to improve their lives. When he found out about proposed cuts to funding that would directly affect him and his peers he took it upon himself to write an emotive open letter to the Council in response to their consultation.

Hyacinth Blackburn, Housing Service Director, YMCA Birmingham said: “We’re very proud of Gabriel and so pleased that he has been recognised for his hard work.

“He has used his entrepreneurial attributes and charm to independently source and nurture partnerships with training providers, local businesses for healthy meal boxes and food for residents, and sourced music hubs for residents to use for therapeutic development. He has made an outstanding contribution to improving the service that young people receive and encouraging them to belong, contribute and thrive.”
Gabriel is not only engaged in wider political debates effecting young people, but he also represents YMCA tenants at board meetings and actively seeks to improve the service and the accommodation that is offered.

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.

Locally, the charity provides a wide range of services that support young people to overcome an issue they are facing and to make a positive transition into adulthood.

YMCA Birmingham works with young people who have faced homelessness for reasons including leaving care or family breakdown and they want to help them to become independent and live fulfilling lives.

For more information on the scheme or for any media interviews, please contact: helen@bigcatagency.com or on 0121 200 0910

Notes to editors
– YMCA Birmingham is a registered charity and housing association that offers a variety of services including; supported accommodation, ‘move on’ flats for those wanting more independence, childcare, employability training, and professional CIH courses.