Express & Star

Memories of the YMCA in the Black Country as it celebrates its 180th anniversary

Community memories of the YMCA in the Black Country from the 1950s onwards are being sought ahead of the 180 th anniversary celebrations of the charity for young people.

The modern YMCA in Wolverhampton

YMCA Black Country Group wants to hear from people who joined community events in previous decades, used local services, lived in accommodation or worked for the charity so they can share their stories during the commemorations in June.

On June 6 the YMCA, the world’s largest and oldest charity working with young people and their communities, will celebrate its 180th anniversary with Founders Day, its annual celebration of its launch. In the Black Country, the charity has been operating since 1888.

Locally, YMCA Black Country Group has a series of events planned throughout the year, including a community open day and celebration in West Bromwich. As part of the

preparations, the team is gathering memories to celebrate the charity’s work including a photographic exhibition.

Grace Maddocks, head of communications at YMCA Black Country Group, is among those collating archive material and recollections.

She said: “We are excited to commemorate the first 180 years of the YMCA with celebrations of our work across the Black Country and would love to hear from people who have memories of their time with us.

“You may have worked for us, been amongst our first gym members, spent time living in one of our accommodation settings, used the Bridge project in Wolverhampton or been to one of our dances or concerts. With our open door policy, the YMCA has helped people of all ages, faiths, cultures and backgrounds.

“We have touched people’s lives in many different ways, from our housing services through to our nurseries, that we would love to hear people’s living stories of their experiences, the people they met and the impact it had on their lives as we celebrate our past and shape our future.”

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