YMCA Reading

Our Stories

Success of Apprentices at YMCA Reading

Meet Bradley and Jack. You rarely see one without the other. Jack Joined Y-Build in 2013 as an apprentice carpenter, and learned his trade re-building the Padworth Activity Centre which had been burnt to the ground in an arson attack. Jack has been a full member of the YMCA staff since 2015. Jack is a star employee and is now training the next generation apprentice in the workshop, Bradley. Bradley came to us as a Cranbury College student in our Workshop. It quickly became clear that he had a lot of potential. Funding was found to put Bradley through an apprenticeship here at YMCA Reading and he started as soon as he turned 16. In less than a year Bradley has become part of the staff furniture here and is already a very valued member of our team.

Our Stories

Jack and Bradley are both volunteering their time to help out at YMCA175 this summer at Excel where they look forward to helping to build sets and take part in festivities.

Apprenticeships are only one way to find your future at YMCA Reading - contact us if you are interested in apprenticeship opportunities.

Good News on Education

(No names are used in this Case Study to protect the identity of the individual)


Often it can seem like an uphill battle keeping getting our residents into education and keeping them there.  However the success stories always make all of the effort worthwhile.

Recently a resident came to live at YMCA Reading from a refuge.  She had no parents and was very much alone in the world.  She was though very focused on her own education and worked hard to achieve several unconditional places at University. 

Her Case Practitioner organized funding from the Buttle Trust for a new laptop and essential items she would need at university.  Then on the fateful day she also helped her pack up and loaded all of her belongings into her own car and delivered her to her new halls of residence.

It was a difficult transition, but her YMCA Case Practitioner has always been at the end of the phone when support was needed. She was able to re-engage with an Aunt & Uncle living abroad and has now developed a positive relationship with them as well.

YMCA Reading - A Resident’s Story

(No names are used in this Case Study to protect the identity of the individual)


I spent two years living at YMCA Reading from age 19 to 21.

Before I moved into the YMCA I had a lot of problems; I had been in care when I was younger, I struggled with grieving, ADHD and lost access to a child. I didn’t know what to do with my life for a long time, I kept making stupid mistakes. I lived in a hostel for 9 months then I moved out to live with a family friend. This unfortunately didn’t work out due to my mental health and I was very stubborn and wouldn’t let anyone help me.

I started to take drugs and lost a lot of friends and support because I was spiralling out of control. When I first moved into YMCA I was still very stubborn wouldn’t let anyone help me, I was lost in myself and went through a lot of support workers because I didn’t feel comfortable talking to any of them.

Then my key worker changed to someone I really connected with and it was amazing, she never gave up on me. She is the one person who I managed to open up to and she helped me so much by getting me into therapy with the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). She always knew if I was going downhill and stopped me before I hit rock bottom. I have been clean of drugs since 2017 and I’m so happy the YMCA helped me out, all I needed was someone I could trust, which is a big thing for me, I didn’t trust anyone due to always having new social workers and having a child taken away.

Finally, people were listening to me and trying to understand, not just setting targets.

I can’t thank the YMCA Staff enough, especially my Case Practitioner, for helping me realise what I needed to do to get better and for never giving up even when I did make stupid mistakes.

YMCA has changed my life for the better and I couldn’t be happier with myself now I finally believe in myself that I can do anything when I put my mind to it. I have moved on now and am in independent accommodation.

Do you need Help?

Our housing is accessed by referral from Reading Borough Council Housing Advice Service or Brighter Futures for Children.

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