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Profile: YMCA East Surrey

This month, we’ve asked YMCA East Surrey to tell you about their activities in the last few weeks. Do explore their website here once you’ve read about their amazing work!

YMCA East Surrey Short Breaks team have been busy contacting and supporting families in a variety of ways - all with the aim of making life in the lockdown a bit easier.

In early April, the Short Breaks team completed 170 welfare phone calls to families; offering advice and support and a friendly, empathetic ear. These calls also allowed staff to identify families who were really struggling and therefore to offer additional, more practical support, where possible.

The team were disappointed that they were not able to run any of the Easter or May half term clubs, as they know how much the children and young people would miss the fun times they usually have. Instead, the team did their best to bring Yippee & Yip4Youth to them by creating and delivering over 250 activity packs, that were full of fun, practical ideas for things that families could do together at home.

Short Breaks staff know nothing they could do remotely could replace what the physical YMCA Yippee and Yip4Youth clubs offer families, but they rose to the challenge to entertain children and young people by creating a series of videos that were posted on YMCA East Surrey Short Breaks Facebook page. These ranged from story time, to science experiments and even a virtual tour of the very popular minibuses. To date, the YMCA team have produced 59 videos that have been viewed over 13,500 times. The highlight of the Facebook videos has to be the BIG YMCA SINGALONG where children and young people sent in clips of them singing and dancing along to the YMCA song and we created a beautiful montage of them all – check it out here. More videos are coming out weekly, and you can find them all on our Facebook page.

The team have also hosted nine Yippee & Yip4Youth Zoom parties, with the children and young people getting the opportunity see their friends and play some games together. These have been a real hit! It’s been so wonderful to see all the happy faces (even if they are on a screen!).

We have been keen to support parents and carers wherever we can, and have moved our Face2Face coffee mornings online. These sessions have presented a valuable opportunity for carers to talk about how lockdown has been for them, listen to each other’s stories, and share practical advice and encouragement. Our Befrienders have continued to support families on an individual basis, particularly with advice around virtual CAMHS assessments and school placements.

In line with some schools, in June, we were eager to offer some respite sessions to families; particularly those who have struggled during lockdown, or who had children who had not been into school, and to those children who were most vulnerable. After setting up new ways of working, following Government guidance and carrying out parent carer consultations, we have started offering some very small-scale sessions at our YMCA Sovereign site in Reigate to those families in most need. We will be gradually building this up as we head towards the summer holidays where we hope to be able to offer significantly more spaces.

If you’d like to find about more about Yippee, Yip4Youth or any of our Short Breaks services, please email the team on

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