I Believe I Can Fly

Zoe writes about the difference our work makes to young people in Doncaster. This post is part of a series of thought-pieces loosely inspired by the music of our youth.

“I belieeeve I can flllly, I belieeeeve I can touch the skkky!…” we’ve all been here before – whether in the shower, in the car, cooking our dinner or simply just walking down the street – we’ve all found ourselves singing our hearts out to I Believe I Can Fly.

I recently found myself testing out my lungs and singing the lyric “If I can see it, then I can do it, if I just believe it, there’s nothing to it”.

Now, Buzz Lightyear has taught us that this doesn’t necessarily mean that if we believe we can physically fly that we will. But it occurred to me how amazing it would be to be able to say that you really believe in yourself, and to believe that you are capable of achieving whatever you put your mind to.

Unfortunately, for a number of different reasons and in a number of different ways, many people do not feel as though they are good enough.

There is a pressure within society to be, act and look a certain way and this pressure can overwhelm people’s ability to believe in themselves. Many people are affected by such pressures, but particularly young people who are trying to find themselves and become young adults in a world in which they don’t feel they fit in with.

A lot of young people do not have anybody in their lives to believe in them – making it near impossible for them to believe in themselves.

That is why at YMCA Doncaster we are here to speak out for young people and help them find strength in their own voice. We provide the support that young people need to succeed, and we always strive to inspire everybody that we meet to realise their full potential.

We do this through our Supported Accommodation, which ultimately helps young people to re-build their lives – starting with a safe place that they can call home. Our support team also gives our residents someone to turn to when life is difficult – it gives them somebody who can believe in them, to help them to believe in themselves.

YMCA Doncaster is an independent charity and we have to find the funds to be able to provide our services to the young people of Doncaster. We wouldn’t have been able to do as much as we have so far without the support of the public and your generous donations -so thank you.

We need your help to continue our work with the vulnerable young people of our town and to be able to further our work within the community to help even more young people.

Can you help us make this happen? Can you help a young person believe they can fly?

If you would like to support our work then please donate today. There are many way you can get involved from fundraising events to food parcels – check out our website for details on all of the ways you can help.

You can also read our clients’ stories to see just how much of a difference your donation can make.


Seeking a New Home for our Great Northern Train Nameplate

For many years, our Great Northern nameplate has been on loan with Doncaster museum and has been part of a popular exhibit with visitors there.

The museum’s collections and displays will be relocating in the spring of 2020 and, sadly, the nameplate loan will end.

We understand that the nameplate is from locomotive 60113 Great Northern, fitted in August 1950. This was the first A3 Pacific locomotive built by Nigel Gresley at the Doncaster plant, in 1922. It was controversially rebuilt by Thomson in 1945 and fitted with large smoke deflectors. Re-classified as A1/1, it was the forerunner of Peppercorn’s A1 class. It spent much of its service at Doncaster, and was withdrawn in November 1962.

We would be very interested to hear from other organisations who might give a home to the nameplate where it can be securely displayed and available for a range of people to view.

That might be somewhere local to Doncaster, or somewhere further afield with connections to railway history and particularly the Great Northern’s route. We’re open to ideas.

The loan would be free of charge and for a term of five years or more. We would like to see an acknowledgement of it being on loan from YMCA Doncaster.

We would require the host organisation to organise and pay for transportation and insurance costs.

If you are interested in hosting the nameplate at your organisation, or know of somewhere that may be, please ask an appropriate decision-maker to email louise@ymcadoncaster.org.uk with their contact information and we’ll be in touch.

Please note that we have no current plans to offer the nameplate for sale and we are unable to respond to sale-related queries.



Joanne writes about volunteering. This post is part of a series of thought-pieces loosely inspired by the music of our youth.

Imagine making a difference.

Homelessness has become a growing problem in Doncaster and it is an issue that many people don’t know how to deal with.

Nobody wants to walk past a young person in need on the street; people want to help but they are unsure how.

By offering a few hours each week to volunteer in our charity shop, you would make that difference. You would be supporting one of Doncaster’s oldest charities as we try to rid our town of youth homelessness.

Imagine meeting new people.

Volunteering in our charity shop could be a great move for you as well as for the young people we support.

If you are shy, you might find that extra confidence to mix with others. Maybe you have recently retired and found yourself with extra time on your hands.

As a volunteer, you will meet new people each day. Many of our customers return week after week to browse through the bargains and stop for a chat.

It won’t be long before you have an increased confidence to deal with customer queries, and your shyness will be a thing of the past.

Imagine learning new skills.

Volunteering for YMCA Doncaster will give you a chance to become part of a team.

If you’re job hunting, volunteering can be a great addition to your CV. It not only shows a prospective employer that you have a set of skills, it shows that you have the drive to show up regularly and work in a varied team.

If you have never worked in a customer facing role, don’t worry; we have a full training programme for all our volunteers, and with each day your customer service skills will improve.

You will learn about visual merchandising and how this affects the sales. You may also be given responsibility for your own area of the shop.

Imagine the satisfaction.

Feel the satisfaction of knowing you have done all you can for your customers.

Feel happy knowing that your new skills are starting to shine.

Feel proud of your achievements as a volunteer, knowing you have helped the young people of our town.

Imagine a country free of homelessness.

Every penny raised in our shop goes towards our work with young people in Doncaster.

By offering your time and your support, you are directly influencing that work.

Download an application form by clicking here, or pop in and collect one from the shop.

We are based on Wood Street; to find our opening times follow this link: https://ymcadoncaster.org.uk/charity-shop-volunteers/

We look forward to having you on board.   


I’m Not Alone

Zoe writes about home decor. This post is part of a series of thought-pieces loosely inspired by the music of our youth.

I really love to change the décor in my home and I know that I am not alone! No matter how much time you spend there, your home is your home and it should feel that way.

This is why it’s important to reinvent our space and express ourselves. Whether you enjoy doing this after your spring clean, after the kids have started back at school or just because you feel like it – we change, our tastes change and therefore so should our surroundings.

However, it can be expensive to make changes to our home and this is why I love YMCA Doncaster’s Charity Shop!

As with any home department in a high street store, I could spend hours in our Charity Shop looking for different bits and pieces for my home and the best part is – it’s at a fraction of the cost!

YMCA Doncaster’s Top Tips for Reinventing Your Space

Linen – Be it cushion covers, throws, or new curtains, linen is an easy way to make any space feel cosier! It is also an easy way to change colour schemes without having to make big changes like wallpapering or painting.

Shelving – whether you need a TV unit, a side-board or a book shelf, YMCA Doncaster regularly has shelving in. Shelving can be expensive to purchase from the high street but at YMCA Doncaster we regularly have high quality, inexpensive (and sometimes quirky) shelving units available to give your home some character without the huge cost too! Shelving is brilliant for storage as well as giving you somewhere to put out decorations.

Mirrors – A beautiful way of making your space look bigger than it is and adding more light. They also come in different shapes and sizes and can either be hung or they can be table/free standing so you don’t have to damage the walls.

Lamps – nothing makes me feel cosier than turning off my ceiling light and trading it for a lamp and some candles. Again, available in all different shapes, sizes and colours – lamps are both useful and stylish.

Vases/Pots – I am a huge fan of greenery! Real or artificial, I love the affect that greenery and its holder brings! Plants bring life into any space and work in every room of the house. Along with its vase or pot which brings in additional colours or patterns.

Photos – from larger hung conversational pieces to small photo frames, pictures have many perks. Larger hung pieces can draw attention away from a drab empty wall and give it character and depth. To add more texture, why not try out a picture arrangement, with several smaller pictures to create a whole wall piece.

Or you could collect different sized, patterned or textured photo frames to personalise your shelves, windowsills or tables and fill them with pictures of the people you love the most.

Books – my favourite “hack” of them all is the use of books! Books can give any space an elegant and sophisticated look, but why not try laying them down to give a photo frame, candle holder or a plant pot some height?

If you’re looking to add small accents of colour, try adding books with a spine that matches your colour scheme. This is a really effective and cost-efficient hack – we often sell books for less than 50p.

All of the above items are regularly donated to our YMCA Doncaster Charity Shop on Wood Street. Purchasing them can make affordable, small changes that make a big difference to your home – as well as within the community.

All of the money raised in our charity shop helps us fund our work with vulnerable young people.

We love to hear about you making changes to your home, so why not call in to see us on Wood Street and see what bargains you can find. For all of our opening times please click here.


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