Thank you from the YMCA 

To everyone at Wonersh Church,

I really wanted to write to you to express our huge thanks, to and to your congregation for the very generous donation to YMCA DownLink Group. As a charity, we are always grateful for any support we receive from members of our community, but perhaps now, more than ever, it is so important to us.

In such a short space of time, the world has changed out of all recognition and as with many other charities, we are struggling to secure fundraising income because we have had to cancel so many events and planned activities. Your continued support therefore has been invaluable. 

Our services are key to the communities we serve and so I just wanted to let you know that our front line services are continuing and we are busier than ever. Your donation is being used to support vulnerable young people in Surrey and Sussex, throughout this crisis. We are continuing to provide a safe home to 700 ‘at-risk’ young people who were facing homelessness and our staff are ensuring that their needs are being met throughout this period of huge uncertainty and anxiety. 

Many of the young people we support are being directly affected. Many of them are losing jobs in the Gig/zero hours economy, when they are already on low wages, and don’t have the benefit of savings or parents who can support them financially. They are also experiencing significant delays in accessing universal credit. Without family to support and care for them, they are more reliant than ever on us for their support and care at this very difficult time. Our dedicated frontline staff are working 24 hours a day to support them. Many of our young people are struggling with their mental health and now feel particularly anxious and scared – they are worried about running out of food and other essentials and many feel lonely and forgotten. 

We have launched an ‘Emergency Isolation Pack’ fundraising appeal to provide them with food and essentials they need, particularly if they find themselves without any money or are self-isolating without family to support them.

We also support thousands (9,000 a year) of young people throughout Surrey and Sussex with advice, mental health support and counselling. We are continuing to provide these services, but coronavirus has meant that we have had to adapt our services to ensure that the vulnerable young people we work with can continue to access the help they need. We have moved all services to digital platforms and are continuing our support using video apps, social media and telephone conversations. 

We are finding that the pressures on families and young people, with self-isolation and social distancing is also having an impact. Already, YMCA Youth Advice Centre (YAC) has seen a large increase in young people presenting as homeless with COVID-19 being cited as the reason that they’ve had to leave home. This of course is an added pressure on our mental health support and advice services. 

In summary, we are working harder than ever to support the young people in our communities so thank you for your donation which is helping to ensure that we can continue our work, during this critical period. 

We will shortly be producing an email newsletter about our projects and this will introduce you to some of the staff who work with us and the young people we support. If you would like to be added to the circulation list, please do let me know? 

I hope to meet you personally at one of our events once this crisis is over and we reach some semblance of normality. Until that time, please keep in touch and please keep safe, 

With our gratitude and very best wishes,


Nikki Mason
Director of Fundraising and Communications
YMCA DownsLink Group


Parish Administrator, 27/04/2020

 Church Life