19 November 2019

YMCA Birmingham, has recently been awarded a grant of over £1m, which will help build 27 self-contained flats. The funding has been secured through the Heart of England Community Foundation’s ‘Building Better Lives’ Programme and will provide interim accommodation for individuals living in supported accommodation who are ready to move on to live more independently.

YMCA Birmingham’s Magdalene Court hostel in Northfield has ensured young people have had a safe space to live for nearly six decades. It provides secure and comfortable accommodation as well as one-to-one support, which aims to empower and encourage both men and women who have found themselves homeless. Offering sixty-four rooms of accommodation to support a variety of needs, Magdalene Court currently helps around 120 people each year.

The grant awarded to YMCA Birmingham will help to fund the creation of 27 additional units of independent accommodation at the charity’s Northfield site. They will be specifically for those embarking on their next step of their journey after living at the hostel. The flats will be built close to the existing building, ensuring that those occupying the space will still have access to the key YMCA services, which have helped them so far.

Heart of England Community Foundation has chosen YMCA Birmingham as one of the three charities to support in its Building Better Lives Programme. Building Better Lives is a major capital build programme, with grants being awarded to causes focused on housing vulnerable people.

Alan Fraser, Chief Executive of YMCA Birmingham, comments:

“We are so thankful to the team at Heart of England Community Foundation for its generous donation. The grant will enable us to expand our accommodation so that we can continue to provide a safe and secure accommodation even after people no longer require our hostel services. And the grant also means that the new accommodation can be let to tenants at rents that will be very affordable even to those on low incomes. So, it’s helping us to beat the benefits trap – which will make a life-changing difference to the people who we help. Not only that, but by freeing up rooms in Magdalene Court, we will be able to help even more very vulnerable people who are currently homeless.”

The Building Better Lives initiative is the icing on the cake for a tremendous 12-months for the Heart of England Community Foundation, ahead of its 25th birthday next year. Having received £4m from generous anonymous donors, this was further increased by £1.58m when the donors were so impressed by the plans the charity put in place. This has allowed the charity to continue its mission of developing community activity across a number of diverse projects in the West Midlands and Warwickshire.

Tina Costello, Chief Executive at Heart of England Community Foundation, said:

“I am so proud to be launching the Building Better Lives programme, we are helping three very important charities within the Midlands. YMCA Birmingham offers a vital support network to the city’s most vulnerable, and it is so fantastic for us to be able to help the charity continue this with our financial support. The entire Heart of England team and I cannot wait to see the impact this project has, and we look forward to being on this journey with YMCA Birmingham.”