YMCA to showcase untold history as part of 175th Anniversary Roadshow

YMCA England & Wales has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £86,600 to deliver a heritage project as part of its landmark 175th anniversary this year. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will travel to 11 locations across the UK and was launched from the Houses of Parliament in June this year.

Co-produced and delivered by young people working jointly with 10 local YMCAs and esteemed partner, Birmingham University.  The project has unearthed new materials relating to YMCA as well as developed skills and enhanced the wellbeing of the young people involved.

The roadshow will engage up to 6,500 people nationally and on 9th September will arrive in Grimsby at Central Hall, Duncombe Street for 4 days. For those who would like to visit the exhibition please do drop in on Thursday 12th September between 10am and 7pm.  Schools will be visiting on Tuesday 10th and Community Groups are asked to attend on Wednesday 11th September between 10am and 7pm.

YMCA has a rich heritage and history of prominent individuals and significant events which have made a lasting contribution to society. For the first time, unseen artefacts and untold stories will come together as part of one collection to bring to life the impact YMCA has had on young people’s lives.

Supporting young people is at the core of what YMCA believes and through this roadshow forty young people have been trained in multiple aspects of the project including oral history training, facilitating local heritage sessions, and undertaking local research.

The young people involved have researched and compiled heritage material including interviewing prominent individuals who have made significant contributions to YMCA in the past, which have been included in the exhibition.

There are a number of people who have been significantly involved with YMCA in many different ways over the years however there exists some untold stories of higher profile figures. YMCA is a global organisation that is deeply rooted in the communities it supports. Our 10 partner YMCAs will deliver the exhibition in their local areas drawing on local stories for inclusion and engaging young people in their delivery.

Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England & Wales, said:
“Over the past 175 years, YMCA has impacted upon the lives of millions of people across the UK. Our Anniversary Roadshow will be the first time we have brought together our rich heritage and history in one place for the public to see.
“Showcasing stories such as our support during the First and Second World Wars, inventing basketball and volleyball, and our work with the United Nations alongside brand new tales from local YMCAs will bring this exhibition, and the history of YMCA, to life in an exciting way.”

Debbie Cook, Chief Executive of YMCA Humber, said:
“I am so excited that Grimsby has been chosen as 1 of only 10 locations to receive this Exhibition. It really is going to be great and we’re keen for as many people to see it, touch it, feel it as possible.  We have chosen the Central Hall, just off Freeman Street as the perfect venue.  At the exhibition we’ll also be showcasing local YMCA history dating back to 1882 and our exciting plans for YMCA Humber’s future in this area”.