‘Living at YMCA in Hucknall during the lockdown has been great’

Funded by Ashfield District Council and Mansfield District Council, Nottinghamshire YMCA’s Multiple Complex Needs service was first launched in March 2020 to deliver bespoke support for local homeless individuals.

Having navigated drug addiction and sofa-surfing for several years, 21-year-old Andy moved into the charity’s supported housing in Hucknall this year. He now has goals of finding work and moving into private rented accommodation when the pandemic dies down.

A sense of community at YMCA

“I’m from Sutton originally but moved to Hucknall around three-and-a-half months ago as that is where the YMCA supported housing is based,” Andy explained.

“It’s of course not a long-term solution but I had to come here for somewhere to stay and my experience of the YMCA team has been very good so far.

“My background has involved trouble with drugs mainly, getting into problems and selling things belonging to my dad to pay for it. I was never street homeless but it all led to me sofa-surfing for three years with people who I thought were my friends at the time but now I’m not so sure.”

For Andy, creating a sense of community at his YMCA home has been important during the pandemic.

“Living at the YMCA during the lockdown has been great as I’m staying in a shared house with five other people and we all get on,” said Andy. “I try to do as much as I can on my own but if I do need help I would go to Ildiko. I’ve stayed in places like this [supported housing] when I was younger and I didn’t feel the help was there, but now I know it’s there if I need it.”

Creating a stable living environment 

As the lockdown measures begin to ease, Andy is looking forward to enjoying a variety of activities on offer through the charity.

“There are plans to host activities depending on our interests,” said Andy. “We’ll be going out with the YMCA team as individuals and as a group – we decide what we want to do and the YMCA team makes it happen. There is definitely a plan to visit a paintballing range soon, which will be good.”

Having found a stable living environment at the YMCA, Andy is now looking ahead to his next life goals.

“When the coronavirus pandemic hit, it put the housing market on hold,” said Andy. “But when things start up again my next step is to look for a long-term independent living situation by finding private rented accommodation.

“I will need to look to get on better money as I couldn’t afford to rent a place at the moment. I’ve not got great grades so I’m open to whenever work is going at the moment and can build from there. While I know the YMCA team is there to support, it will be great to eventually move into my own place.”

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