YMCA walkers celebrate 173 years of history and heritage
Bishop Pete Broadbent, YMCA West London President, Bishop of Willesden and Acting Bishop of London, has welcomed 21 walkers to St Paul’s Cathedral at the end of their 10-mile Founder’s Day Walk.
The sponsored walk marks the YMCA’s 173 years of history and heritage. The first YMCA branch was opened on 6 June 1844 in the West End of London, not far from St Paul’s Cathedral, where founder George Williams was also buried. It now operates in 119 countries, supporting or working with 58 million people every year.
Staff, residents and volunteers from of YMCA West London set out in the early morning from their base in Ealing and made the four and a half hour journey to St Paul’s Cathedral, where they met walkers from YMCAs East, and South West. The walkers were welcomed by Bishop Pete and shared lunch at St Paul’s Youth Hostel Association, underlining the YMCA value (John 17:21), “that they all may be one”.
Commenting, Bishop Pete said:
“I’m glad to be associated with YMCA West London as their President. We are currently in discussions with YMCAs across London with a view to better ways of working together. The Founders Day walk was a great way of celebrating our partnership – and building good relationships between the YMCAs as we seek to serve the young people of London. Congratulations to all those who completed the walk – from Richmond, Kingston, Ealing and other points of the compass.”
YMCA West London gives shelter, with emotional and practical guidance, to more than 450 young people aged 16-35 of any gender or faith. Since 2001 they have grown rapidly, with the launch of eight new supported housing projects and a Supported Lodgings scheme which places young people with host families. They also run youth clubs, a nursery, children’s activity classes and a community cafe to help fund their work.