Redsquid Speaks With One YMCA

As our relationship with One YMCA continues to develop, we were interested in seeing what effect a year of Redsquid support has had on their charity campaign. Redsquid CEO; Sohin Raithatha, spoke with One YMCA CEO;  about the positive impact Redsquid has had on their work, the future of our relationship, and what other businesses can do to help YMCA branches across the country.


In April, I successfully completed my 42-mile hike through the Himalayas and raised around £3000 for One YMCA, how has that money helped support our local youth community?

It costs around £8,000 a year to successfully run an evening youth club, therefore, these vital funds have really helped contribute to the running costs of YMCA’s youth clubs in Watford. These costs involve; qualified youth workers, equipment; such as footballs and Frisbees, as well as the day-to-day things required to engage young people and make them feel at home – which could be anything from hot chocolate and bean bags, through to sexual health packs and mental health workshop materials.


What do you enjoy most about working with businesses like ours? How important is it that local businesses get involved with One YMCA?

Local businesses are often formed by people who have grown up nearby, and so understand the challenges this can bring.

When a business like Redsquid chooses to spend their time, effort, and funds supporting an organisation like ours, it means that young people can directly benefit from the local knowledge and experience of people who have been through what they’re going through. If local businesses can’t find the resources and time to invest in young people, then the talent pool and resilience of their local area will suffer as a result, and affect the long-term sustainability of their business.


Redsquid have supported One YMCA by holding several career workshops over the past year, how can other local businesses get involved?

Any activities that involve young people in a professional work environment, and let them experience what being employed might feel like, can only serve to enhance their aspirations to better themselves.

The key thing for local businesses seeking to help invest in young people; is to be able to set aside time and effort to help open their eyes to the satisfaction of a good day’s work, as well as the benefits that come from earning a salary and being part of a professional network. YMCA would welcome the opportunity to talk to other businesses about work experience, monthly mentoring, and vitally, sponsorship of our local evening youth sessions.


How do you envision the future of the Redsquid/One YMCA partnership?

The partnership between our two organisations has grown significantly, and ideally, we’d like to continue building this relationship so that Redsquid staff, YMCA youth workers, and young people, can ease into a rhythm of activities, visits, and Redsquid involvement.  Therefore, continuing the employment workshops, CV writing, and day to day sponsorship, will have ongoing benefits. It would also be great to explore the possibility of monthly mentoring sessions held by Redsquid colleagues.


Why is supporting our local youth groups so important to One YMCA?

Our research has shown that local young people are facing the exact same challenges being experienced by youth across the country. We are especially seeing a dramatic rise in cases of poor mental health, alongside lower self-esteem, confidence, and aspirations: with the myriad of negative influences from social media bombarding young people every day.

YMCA’s chief aim at present is to establish positive face-to-face relationships with young people to help develop supportive peer groups, so that they can feel satisfied in contributing to their community, and finding an achievable path to an exciting future.


How does One YMCA provide support to those young people who need it?

Belonging, contributing, and thriving, is at the heart of everything YMCA youth workers do.  First and foremost, we provide a safe welcoming and supportive environment for young people to get away from negative influences on both the streets and social media.

We run a program of activities that are designed to engage young people with key issues, and enable them to make informed decisions, that will increase their resilience and positive transition to adulthood.  While our activities start with generic youth clubs, we quickly encourage young people to participate in self-design projects that help benefit their community, as well as one-to-one mentoring programs.


What does the One YMCA do to help young people prepare for, and find employment?

YMCA primarily prepares young people for employment by making them more comfortable with the job market.  We place a huge emphasis on building young people’s confidence and self-esteem, as well as developing their understanding of appropriate behaviour and boundaries: so that they’ll be able to better cope in a working environment, and crucially, the interview process.

While we do offer CV writing and employment specific activities, we see our work as focusing the pre-employment stage; by supporting young people and getting them ready to engage with the job market.  For this reason, we’re always very pleased to collaborate with organisations that can offer genuine work experience, CV writing assistance, practical mentoring support, and above all, expose young people to the benefits of gaining employment.


Is there anything you’d like to add in regards to the support that Redsquid has shown One YMCA over the last 12 months?

YMCA would like to thank Sohin and everyone at Redsquid for their ongoing support for YMCA, and the young people we work with.  Redsquid has shown that patience, professionalism, and passion, are all vital components of effective youth engagement.

All of their support; from workshops, to the sponsoring of dongles, to financial support of our youth program, have enabled our local team to extend its positive impact on young people.  The very teenagers who will shortly be entering the employment pool for local businesses, will be better prepared as a result of Redsquid’s involvement.  Thank you Redsquid!

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