YMCA175 Discovery Visits

Experience a distinctive mix of discovery visits planned for you by local YMCAs across the UK. Each visit offers fascinating insight to the area’s culture and history. See different cities outside London like Birmingham and Belfast or spend time in the English countryside in East of England and Dulverton. You could take the opportunity to visit Scotland’s breathtaking views of wild landscapes, mist-shrouded mountains and endless rolling hills.

Each option comes with a first-hand experience of YMCAs work in the UK and a chance to connect with young people we work with.

The deadline to register for YMCA175 Discovery Visits closes 31 May, so be sure to book your place today!

World YMCA joins the #SpeakYourMind initiative

More than 75% of people living with mental health difficulties in low and middle-income countries do not receive any appropriate treatment or care. To address this lack of action, World YMCA has joined a new global campaign called “Speak Your Mind”. The campaign focuses on mental health needs, and pledges for open discussions and clear objectives to tackle mental health illnesses, at a social, governmental and international level. Fifteen countries have already signed up to this initiative, as well as many partners across the world.

Secretary General Carlos Madjri Sanvee was present at the launch event held in Geneva on Sunday 19 May. He met many other partners including World Health Organisation Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, United for Global Mental Health CEO Elisha London, and Born This Way Foundation President and co-founder Cynthia Germanotta, which was launched alongside her daughter Stefani (also known as Lady Gaga).

Carlos mentioned that at times it takes dramatic events, like the suicide of a relative or close friend, for people to realise how serious mental health difficulties are. “But do we need that to happen before we raise our awareness, and to realise that mental health is equally important as physical health?” he questioned. “We are human beings, we have hearts, we are feeling things, and we should be able to connect to the people suffering around us. This is what World YMCA wants to bring to the table”.

Cynthia Germanotta shared her experience as a mother facing her daughter’s mental struggles, and she said: “On the average, less than 2% of countries’ budget is spent on mental health and we feel this is unacceptable. It should at least be 5%”.

A number of activists and campaigners also spoke out and shared their views on fighting for better mental health care in their countries: Anto Lecky and Korede Bello from Nigeria, Reverend Bill Jallah from Liberia and Leo Hoponoa from Tonga. The event ended with a joyful dance led by African drums to celebrate the gathering and to look forward to a positive future.

For more information about the Speak Your Mind campaign visit www.gospeakyourmind.org/

YMCA Scotland Rebrands to Strengthen Presence

This week, YMCA Scotland unveiled its new branding. The Scottish movement, which works with 10,000 young people every week, is rebranding in a bid to strengthen its presence across the country.

Kerry Reilly, YMCA Scotland’s Chief Executive said:

“For a number of years, local YMCAs have expressed a desire to increase the profile and public awareness of our movement. Last year, we completed a strategic review which highlighted the need for greater brand awareness.

This year marks our 175th anniversary, and we see this as a fantastic opportunity to launch a more united, and stronger brand in Scotland.

One of the challenges we faced was that our brand was very fragmented across the country. Local YMCAs used widely different logos and colours. This often made them look like small local charities when they are, in fact, part of a national and international movement.

Our new branding allows us to present the YMCA consistently across all our marketing efforts.”

As part of the rebranding process, YMCA Scotland engaged with young people and staff through a series of focus groups to shape the charity’s new brand.

Christophe Sagnet, YMCA Scotland’s Communication & Digital Media Officer, said:

“The young people we support played a key role in helping us develop our design brief. Their feedback and insights shaped the creation of our new logo. The end result is a visual identity that is bold and colourful.

However, our new logo continues to pay homage to our history. One of the key findings from our focus groups was that staff and volunteers are very attached to the YMCA triangle which has featured in the logo of every YMCA up until now. The triangle, which represents body, mind, and spirit, had to remain an essential feature of our new brand.”

YMCA Scotland engaged Glasgow-based agency Haiwyre to undertake its rebranding.

Stuart Platt, Creative Director at Haiwyre, said:

“We were delighted to be selected to work with YMCA Scotland. It was a great opportunity to create a modern, engaging and flexible identity that better connects with the young people they support.

The new identity was designed around the important historic elements associated with the global YMCA movement. From this starting point, we created a bold and dynamic Y icon that represents the YMCA structure; smaller elements coming together to create a larger whole.

A detailed brand and style guide was created to ensure that as the new identity develops it is consistent and coherent over all 29 local associations. In the coming months, we are looking to introduce stage two, a new website and advertising campaign that will better showcase all areas of YMCA Scotland’s services and work.”