Mark’s Story

YMCA Cheltenham Mark's Story

I arrived at the YMCA following the breakdown of a long-term relationship.  I had lost everything – my home, my job, my best friend – everything that I had worked towards. I had even lost my confidence.  When I first arrived at the YMCA, all I needed was a bed and a roof, a safe place where I could take time to get myself back together.  The staff team was helpful and supportive without being intrusive and I was able to use the time to rebuild relationships with my family.

Once I had overcome the shock of the loss, I started looking for work.  I knew what I wanted to do and set my sights firmly on my goal.  Again the support team at the YMCA was great – encouraging me without treading on my dreams and aspirations.  I eventually found the job that I had been looking for and have now been working full-time for a number of months.  It is hard work, and long hours, but I am determined to get myself back into a place of my own as quickly as I can.

Moving into the new building at the YMCA was amazing; the rooms provide everything that anyone could want – an en-suite bathroom, comfortable bed, wardrobe, desk and even a fridge.  Six rooms share a kitchen/dining area which helps stop anyone from becoming isolated.  It’s a great space to sit and chat with support workers and other residents, where some of the younger ones can learn how to cook – and how to clean up after themselves!

Over the last year, I have experienced a huge learning curve, one which I wouldn’t want anyone to go through.  I learnt first-hand how quickly everything can be taken from you and I am so thankful that the YMCA was there.  I’m not sure where I would have ended up without them.

 * Name changed to protect their identity