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National Volunteers’ Week 2017

This week (1st – 7th June) is National Volunteers’ Week. Although we thank our Volunteers on a daily basis, this week we really want to shout about how much we appreciate each and every one of them.

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

Our work is led by our Board of Governors, and carried out by a small team of staff and volunteers who are a crucial part of YMCA Doncaster.

Over 40% of our team are Volunteers, they play an important role in the work we do; without them we wouldn’t be able to continue to deliver our service to support young lives in Doncaster.


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.

Last year we noticed that we had a rise in what we have dubbed “online volunteers”. This year they have increased even further. 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 £5,000 in March 2017. 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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