From Caring to Sharing - guest post from YMCA Open Door

Guest blog by Jonathan Crust, YMCA Open Door

For YMCA Supported Lodgings Host, Neil Snook, helping others is a way of life. Neil is actively involved in a number of charitable activities including homeless outreach, Anti-Slavery campaigning and social enterprise initiatives through his catering business in Walsall town centre. As a YMCA Host, he also has young people who would be at risk of homelessness living within his house.

Since the government’s lockdown measures were introduced, Neil has been using his skills and expertise as a mobile caterer to voluntarily supply between 50-70 meals, two days a week to Walsall Manor Hospital, Russells Hall, Dudley and New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.

Towards the end of March, which coincided with the lockdown, YMCA placed Jake, a 22-year-old man who had experienced a family breakdown, with Neil in Supported Lodgings

Since then Jake has been assisting Neil in the preparation of his meals, which can take up to 12 hours to prepare. Jake said: “I wanted to give something back to the community and, as a former patient at The Manor Hospital, it was a great way to say thank you for what they did for me.”

Not everybody, can do the work that the frontline NHS staff are doing and not everybody is a key worker. However, by sharing his abilities to provide good quality food to the NHS, he is making a huge difference to support those on the frontline and by sharing his house, with a young person, Neil is also providing a safe and nurturing environment for Jake to progress.

YMCA Open Door has over 80 Hosts who come from all different walks of life and backgrounds. What they have in common, however, is a caring heart. And by using their spare room, they are able to provide a great environment for young people to thrive and grow. If you have a caring heart and a spare room, please consider becoming a host. For more information, e-mail opendoor@ymcabc.org.uk or visit www.ymcabc.org.uk/what-we-do/accommodation/opendoor/hosts/.

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