Here’s How to Throw a Eurovision Charity Party

lady singerIt’s time to dig out your spangley outfits and get ready to sing in to those hairbrushes because the Grand Final of Eurovision 2017 is almost upon us!

Every year we hear people say they are not fans of this glitzy celebration of musical talent from across Europe (and Australia!) and every year we hear people say, with a heavy heart, they will not be tuning into the show on TV because their “other half” doesn’t want to.

Well, overcome the naysayers with this marvelous plan.

Arrange a Eurovision house party and combine watching the show with raising money for charity. That’s three birds with one stone; a party, fundraising AND Eurovision. Brilliant!

How can it be done?

Read these tips on throwing your very own Eurovision Charity Party:

Send Out Your Invites – Invite everyone you know, Eurovision enthusiasts as well as those who don’t really get why it is so special. Explain the party is to raise funds for charity and to celebrate a live extravaganza of multicultural entertainment.

Remind your attendees to bring plenty of change including 20 pence pieces (around £5 worth should be enough) and £2 coins, for party games.

Prepare Your Fundraising Jar – Any reasonable size jar will do, whether you use a Tupperware box, for example. Mark it clearly so your party guests know it is where their donations need to go. Place it in an easy to reach area.

Prepare Your House – Make sure your TV is working. Make sure you know where the TV remote is and that is has batteries in! The Eurovision Grand Final is set to be broadcast live on BBC One at 8pm on Saturday 13th May. Hide away any breakables or items that won’t manage being knocked about or last if drinks are spilled.

Dress Appropriately – It’s always good to have a fancy dress party, perhaps national dress for each country taking part, but remember being comfortable is a must, as it can be a long night.

Cheesy Music – There is always a break in the festivities or extended babble on screen, so have cheesy music to hand to keep the party swinging. Why not set up a play list of previous Eurovision songs such as Gina G’s “ooh Aah .. Just a Little Bit” or Bucks Fizz’s “Making Your Mind Up”.

Sweepstake – Before the show starts, put the names of all the countries taking part in Eurovision in to a hat. Ask your guests to give you £2 and pick a country out of the hat.
The person who picks the winning country receives half the sweepstake money and the other half goes in to the fundraising jar.

Eurovision Bingo – Here is where all those 20 pence pieces come in to play.

Divide the following items up between your guests; don’t worry if there isn’t enough to go around, it is fine to allocate an item to more than one person, or give one person more than one item.

Every time the following items happen on Eurovision the person with that item should put 20p in to the fundraising jar.

Music concert.• Someone winks at the camera
• There is a big key change in one of the songs
• There is a fire work on stage
• The host changes their outfit
• A performer drops to their knees in their routine
• An act comes out in National Dress
• A country gives their neighbour 12 points
• The UK is awarded 0 points
• Someone thanks the host for a wonderful evening

The winner is the last person to put all of their money in to the fundraising tub. Click here to download a Eurovision Bingo winner’s certificate.

Get Tweeting – We love to know what our supporters are doing to fundraise, so please do remember to tweet us pictures of your party @YMCADoncaster and use the hashtag #Eurovision2017

Have Fun! – Make sure whatever you do, that it is filled with fun, laughter and lots of dancing!

Donate Your Eurovision Funds – Once your amazing party is finished and the money is collected in from the sweepstake and Eurovision Bingo you need to know how to get it to us.

You can donate in a number of ways. Please click here to find out how.

So, now you have read the top ten tips on throwing a Eurovision charity party, there is nothing stopping you.

We hope you enjoy everything Eurovision!

For more information about how you can support YMCA Doncaster’s work please click here.


You Shall Go to the Ball

fairytale-958144_1280Here at YMCA Doncaster we are known for our work providing Supported Accommodation for young people aged 16-30.

We have many success stories of young people who have received support from us and have managed to rebuild their lives. We have shared a number of these stories on our website.

Many of our young people return, often years after having left our accommodation, to update us on how much their lives have changed for the better and what they are getting up to now. It’s great to hear from them. It’s heart warming and it’s the reason we do the work we do.

Although we work directly with young people aged 16-30, it seems that our work can touch the lives of anyone at any age, in a way that we wouldn’t necessarily expect it to.

A few months ago, a beautiful little prom dress arrived in our Charity Shop. It was so nice that we shared a picture of it on our Facebook page to let people know it was available to buy. No sooner had the picture appeared on Social Media we received a message enquiring about it.

The message was from a teacher at a primary school in the Doncaster borough, who explained she was enquiring about the dress for a student of hers, a 12 year old girl.

The school was set to hold a prom for the final year students and the young girl longed to attend, but her hectic family life would prevent her from doing so.

The teacher explained that the young girl had experienced so much upheaval in her life, but had still managed to maintain a smile. It would be a shame for her to miss the prom when she had worked so hard to keep up with her school work.

The teacher wanted to purchase the dress for the young girl, so that she could attend the prom in something worthy of the occasion and enjoy herself without worry.

The teacher did purchase the dress, and we sent her off with the hope that the young girl would get to attend the prom.

A few months on and the teacher has been in touch with us to say the prom was a success. The dress fitted the young girl beautifully. She attended the prom with a huge smile on her face and danced all night. She said that she felt like a princess at a ball.

It was great to hear this news and we all had huge smiles on our faces thinking about the good memories we had played a part in creating for that young girl.

It’s so nice to receive feedback from those whose lives we have touched. It makes us all the more determined to carry on the work we do to support young people in Doncaster.

There are many ways you can get involved with our work. Please click here to find out.


It Won’t Be Lonely This Christmas

Christmas - Safe Place 300 x 251“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
                                 Dr Seuss – The Grinch

November has arrived and with it the appearance of Christmas decorations in the majority of shops in town.

There is certainly a buzz in the air that only comes at this time of year.

A number of you will be rushing to finish the Christmas shopping you began in August (there really are people that organised!), whilst others will just be starting.

You’ll be going about your Christmas shopping, searching for the perfect present for your loved ones. You’ll be laden with bags deliberating which slippers to buy Grandma, whilst a young person looks on.

That young person will watch you as you try to decide which tags go with the classy wrapping paper you just purchased. That young person will be conjuring images in their head of the ideal family Christmas filled with smiling faces, sitting at a table filling their bellies with Christmas goodies, followed by relaxing in front of a roaring fire watching Christmas sitcoms on TV.

But, for that young person, those images in their head will stay just that, because they have no family to celebrate with. They have no food to fill their bellies with and they have no warm place to relax in front of a TV.

Christmas for them will be lonely and cold. Christmas for them won’t feel like Christmas at all.

That’s where we can help.

With your support this Christmas we can provide 30 young people with a safe place to stay.

With your support we can provide them with a family style Christmas full of smiles and laughter.

With your support we provide food to fill their bellies.

With your support we can give them presents to open on Christmas morning.

With your support 30 young people won’t be alone at Christmas.

A donation of £30 could help us to provide everything a young person needs at Christmas.

Every penny will be spent on our work with young people in Doncaster.

Please click here to donate via JustGiving.com.


YMCA Doncaster Celebrates National Trustees’ Week

Board 300x300This week is National Trustees’ Week. It is an annual event to celebrate the contribution of trustees and highlight the opportunities for people from all backgrounds to get involved and make a difference.

Being a Board Member at YMCA Doncaster can be a rewarding way to make a contribution to our community. It’s a way to share your knowledge and expertise and gain valuable skills as well as life experiences at the same time.

YMCA Doncaster’s Board is made up of people who are elected for a three year term and those who are co-opted for up to one year.

Our current Board includes retired and working age people from a wide range of backgrounds. Some have prior knowledge of trusteeship whilst for others, YMCA Doncaster is their first experience of a governance role. We have a strong culture of learning, both about particular issues facing the organisation and about governance topics in general.

All of our Board Members use their wisdom and experience to support YMCA Doncaster to achieve our Mission, Vision and Values, which makes a real difference to young lives here in the town.

Our Board primarily focus on the policies and strategic plans of the YMCA, and on ensuring that those are developing appropriately.

From time to time, there are a number of other options for Board Members to be involved in the life of YMCA Doncaster. Young people particularly appreciate the involvement of the Board at presentation evenings and other events.

Our Board usually meet once every two to three months on a weekday evening for around two to three hours. The meetings are generally planned well in advance and Board Members receive background papers and reports around a week prior to the meeting.

Louise Roffey, Chief Excecutive of YMCA Doncaster said: “As it is Trustees’ Week, we would like to thank our current Board Members for all the work they do for YMCA Doncaster and the young people we support. We would also like to encourage more local people to apply to become part of our Board of Trustees.

In committing themselves to the YMCA in this way, they would be following in a long tradition of lay leadership, which goes back almost 160 years. We hope that local people will consider joining us and helping us to be as proud of our future as we are of our history.”

If you think you have what it takes to make a real difference to the lives of young people in Doncaster then why not consider joining us?

To find out more about becoming a member of the Board here at YMCA Doncaster, please take a look at our website by clicking here, where you will find an information pack and application form to download.


Festival Fashion for Men

accessory-984072We’ve all seen the mass of lists in magazines and on the internet of must have festival fashion pieces and festival tips for women, but what about tips for men? Festival fashion tips for men just don’t seem as readily available.

That is until now!

Let’s face it, we all want to wear comfortable clothing to aid our festival fun and that is all well and good, but have you thought about the chances of scoring a date whilst there?

Rocking your festival gear could play a part in bagging yourself a hot date or sitting in soggy, mud clad clothes on your own.

It doesn’t have to break the bank to look good. Forget designer gear that will be ruined with drink splatters and mud smatters. Think bargain. Think cool vintage items that can be found in places like the YMCA charity shop on Wood Street, Doncaster.

Here is our list of key fashion pieces you should think about packing:

Wellies – You need to keep your feet dry, so we are talking waterproof and wipe able. Canvas shoes just won’t cut it so forget your Vans and Converse and think wellies. With an array of colours and styles, wellies are now fashionable as well as practical and are the in thing for festival goers.

T-Shirt – You are going to a festival so what better way to rock out than in a band t-shirt. If you want to get away from the cliché of high street band t-shirts why not go for a vintage one and really rock in style. Band t-shirts not your thing? Then perhaps think about a nautical themed t-shirt to really draw the eye of a potential date.

Shirt – A long sleeved shirt would be ideal, as sleeves can be rolled up if you are too hot or rolled down when it gets chilly. Forget the usual office style shirt and go for something with a little more character. Perhaps choose one with a ‘granddad collar’ or a boldly patterned shirt. Most importantly of all don’t wear nylon shirts as they lead to lots of sweating!

Hoodie – Nights can get quite chilly after you have been sunning yourself all day. Take a hoodie to keep you warm in the evenings. If you get too hot you can tie it around your waist. Either keep it in line with your band t-shirt or go for a contrasting block colour.

Shorts – Forget denim. When it gets wet denim can become uncomfortable to wear and takes a long time to dry. Think along the lines of smart cargo type shorts or bang on trend maxi sweat shorts; both are quick to dry should they get wet. Think block colour shorts so that you can mix and match with your patterned shirts and t-shirts.

Hat – Forget the chicken hat (or at least wait until the last evening to whip the funny hat out) and think about purchasing a hat that will keep the sun off your head. Take some time to pick the right hat to suit you. If in doubt, opt for a bandana, which will stop the sun from burning your head and will aid in hiding un-coiffed hair.

Cagoule –These nifty little rain proof coats in a pocket are not as geeky as you think. They are lightweight, practical and come in a variety of styles and colours to suit any taste. Have some fun and play around with them to see what style suits you.

Bag – You will need a bag to keep your valuables and water bottles in. Remember that there can be a lot of walking from stage to stage. The drawstring bag is a big deal in the fashion industry at the moment and has made a comeback. The best thing about these types of bags is the low cost.

Time is running out to bag your bargain festival wear. Get down to the YMCA charity shop on Wood Street to grab your last minute items. Click here for our charity shop opening times.

We hope that you enjoy the festival. Remember to let us know if any of these tips came in handy by tweeting us @YMCADoncaster.


Festival ‘Ditch and Pack’ Tips

Stock Image

Festival season is here. With Glastonbury just a few days away we are on hand with our festival ‘ditch and pack’ tips to get you ready.

We recommend that you ignore the term ‘festival fashion’. Rid your mind of wearing flip-flops. Think more along the lines of practical items such as wellies and cagoules. We are in Britain after all; the land of four seasons in one day!

Ditch the Designer Gear
– Festivals are certainly not the place for your prized possessions, unless of course you want them covered in beer and splattered with mud. You won’t be able to relax and enjoy the festival experience if you are concerned about your designer jeans or your new white trainers. So, leave your best clothes at home.

Pack Charity Shop Bargains – Get yourself down to the YMCA charity shop on Wood Street and pick yourself up some bargain festival gear that you won’t mind getting covered in mud.

Ditch the Denim
– When it gets wet denim can become uncomfortable to wear and takes a long time to dry.

Pack Leggings and Tights – They are easier to dry than denim and can be worn under dresses should it get cold, or rolled up and put in your bag if it gets too warm.

Ditch the Flip-flops
– Remember that there can be quite a bit of walking from stage to stage and there is a possibility of trampled toes. Flip-flops wouldn’t be the most comfortable footwear.

Pack Your Wellies – They are waterproof and will help you to avoid mud squelching through your toes!

Ditch the Bin Liner
– Many people forget to take a waterproof coat to festivals, especially when it looks like it is going to be good weather, and then end up wearing a makeshift poncho from a bin liner.

Pack a Cagoule – Nifty little rain proof coats in a pocket, what else could you ask for? They hardly take up any space. Better safe than sorry.

Ditch the Big Bag
– You don’t want to be stuck holding a big bag when you want to enjoy the music and have a dance. Just carry the essentials with you.

Pack a Bum Bag – They are no longer an uncool thing of the 80s, bum bags are the in thing at festivals now. They allow you to carry around your essential items such as money and your phone, but allow you to have your hands free to enjoy the music and wave that glow stick in the air!

Ditch the Cold
– It can get chilly at night, especially if it has been warm during the day. So make sure you think about packing something to keep you warm. It’s all about layers.

Pack a Hoodie – You can use a hoodie to layer up. It will keep you warm and can be flung over the top of your day wear at night. If you get too hot, you can tie it around your waist.

Ditch the Floppy Hat
– They can be a nuisance and often fall off or the big brims can get in the way of your own viewing pleasure.

Pack a Bandana – They are great at keeping the sun from burning your head and they hide unsightly greasy hair!

Make sure you are festival ready and have packed well.

Forgotten those last minute festival clothing essentials but don’t want to pay a fortune for them? Nip down to the YMCA charity shop on Wood Street, Doncaster to see what we have in stock.

Click here to see our charity shop opening times.


National Volunteers’ Week 2016

VolunteerGraphicThis year National Volunteers’ Week has been extended and will run from 1st June until 12th June, which gives us more time to show our appreciation to our volunteers.

We aim to use this week to thank all our volunteers who give their time, experience, talent and devotion to help support the work we do with vulnerable young people.

Whatever role our volunteers take on with us, every moment they spend here contributes to some of Doncaster’s most difficult young lives.

We want our Volunteers to know that they are valued and that their dedication and compassion to our work is an inspiration.

What Do Our Volunteers Do?

Our Volunteers take on a wide range of roles to support young people and our Association. They include:

Board Members – who dedicate their time and experience to lead our work; focusing on policies and strategic plans of YMCA Doncaster, and ensuring that those are developing appropriately.

Charity Shop Volunteers – who are involved in the day to day running of the YMCA Charity Shop; helping out with customers, sorting donations as they come in, preparing clothing and furniture for sale, creating displays and lending a hand with collections and clearances.

Sleep Easy Participants – who take part in the annual YMCA sponsored sleep out that aims to raise awareness of homelessness and raise funds to support our work.

This year we have also seen a rise in what we have dubbed “online volunteers”. These volunteers are those that share our social media posts on their own pages and amongst their family and friends. Those that help to promote us online are valuable as it enables information about our services get to even more people.

Volunteers Make a Difference

Many people of all ages, talents and skills give their time to us and here is the difference they make:

• Sleep Easy participants raised over £2,500 in March 2016. These funds will go directly to the work we do with vulnerable Young People in providing support with finding a home and leading a responsible adult life.

• Board Members make the lives of Young People better by providing support to our staff team in terms of strategic planning and policy development that aim to make a safe and welcoming environment for our resident clients to live.

• Volunteers allow us to run our Charity Shop successfully; with every penny raised going directly to support our work with young people in Doncaster.

• Volunteers bring a fresh perspective and energy to our work. Their motivation to support us makes them committed and valuable members of the team.

How Can People Get Involved With Our Work?

There are many opportunities for people to get involved in our work, on a volunteer basis. For more information please click here.

If you would personally like to thank one of our volunteers, please let us know by emailing duty@doncasterymca.org.uk


Home Comforts

book-690584Every home is different and every person has a favourite thing about being at home.

We took some time out to speak to people recently and asked them what their favourite thing was about being at home. Every person we asked smiled and answered straight away with things such as their bed, quiet time, spending time with family, a nice soak in the bath, reading a book, cooking and snuggling.

We then asked them what they would do if they didn’t have a home to be able to enjoy their favourite thing in. Their answers didn’t come so quickly and there was no smile; just puzzled faces.

Think about your favourite thing about being at home. Now, what if you couldn’t do that? What if you had no home to go to?

Think about that. Imagine no bed, no place for quiet time, no family to keep you company, no bath, nowhere to sit and read a book, nowhere to cook or even any food to cook for that matter and no dry blankets or pillows to snuggle with.

For those that have home comforts and a place to relax it’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?

For a number of young people in Doncaster this is a reality on a daily basis. No home to feel safe in or relax.

Support the work of YMCA Doncaster and let’s get more young people in a safe place to live; a place they can snuggle, have quiet time and enjoy.

There are many ways you can get involved with our work. Please click here to find out.


Our Young People Enjoy Reading

1Sitting down with a good book seems to be a pass time young people rarely engage with today. A National Literacy Trust report, from 2015 shows young people spend almost twice as much time reading online than they do reading printed books.

It would seem the cost of books also plays a part in young people reading less as they can be expensive compared to information which can be obtained from the internet relatively free.

However, reading books is becoming more of a culture amongst the young people of YMCA Doncaster. This follows a recent donation of books from Re-Read and a visit in April from Janis of Doncaster Libraries, who gifted books to our young people in celebration of World Book Night.

Speaking to young people who use our building it became evident that cost was indeed a factor in choosing not to read as Luke states:

“I’ve always bought my books rather than borrowed them, but I can’t afford to just now, so I haven’t read anything in a while.”

Several resident clients have started an internal library for the Supported Accommodation to enable each other to share books, with one resident client facilitating the library to ensure books are returned.

Olivia Burton, Deputy Chief Executive states “I think the library is a great idea. It means every resident client has access to books and it’s creating a real sense of community as it develops a common interest when they can discuss books they have all read.”

Chris, a resident client, admits reading isn’t an activity he would have chosen until the recent book events at YMCA Doncaster:

“Books don’t usually interest me, but I saw the library and the World Book Night event and I thought I would give it a go. So I’ve borrowed a book and I’m going to try it.”

Apparently reading is extremely good for your health. The Reading Agency states “Reading for pleasure can result in increased empathy, improved relationships with others, reductions in the symptoms of depression and dementia, and improved wellbeing.”

With the above statement in mind, long may our clients new found love of reading last!

If you want to know more about the young people we support you can find some of their stories by clicking here.


Shabby Chic with the YMCA Charity Shop

Shabby Chic BeforeThe YMCA Charity Shop on Wood Street gets lots of great furniture donations on a regular basis from vanity units to arm chairs and beds to dining room tables.

Many of these items are in great condition and could fit right in to your home without any work doing to them. Other items may seem as though they have seen better days and may appear less appealing, but with a little bit of TLC and a spot of DIY you could create the exact piece you have been looking for.

Bob, our Charity Shop Supervisor, has seen many customers purchasing items to customise:

“We get a lot of customers that purchase furniture to ‘upcycle’ for their homes. We get a lot of vintage items from pre war to the 70s which are snapped up for this sort of thing.”

At a time when “Shabby Chic” is all the rage, with celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Jeff Goldblum and Warren Beatty getting in on the act. Why not pop along to the YMCA Charity shop to see if you can pick up a piece of furniture to develop in to your very own custom made Shabby Chic item.

Follow our tips to get the Shabby Chic look on wooden items:

Shabby Chic After1. Sand down your item well
2. Prime with a wood primer
3. Paint your item. If you have an item that is a little more fiddly try using spray paint, but do practise on an old piece of wood first before going anywhere near your furniture item.
4. Leave to dry fully otherwise you risk having finger prints in your paint work!
5. Sand the edges of your item to give that shabby chic/well-worn look
6. Varnish for extra protection
Notes: Try using two different colour paints on your item. When you sand down the edges you will uncover the bottom colour giving an extra custom made feel to it.

If you have customised a piece of furniture purchased from the YMCA Charity Shop on Wood Street, please do share your pictures with us; we would love to see them.

To find out more about our Charity Shop please click here.


Quick links