North Staffordshire YMCA's practice run of their own ‘Join Hands’ challenge to show solidarity with youn people affected by Ebola. The real event will take place on July 11th! Find out more below. North Staffordshire YMCA's practice run of their own ‘Join Hands’ challenge to show solidarity with youn people affected by Ebola. The real event will take place on July 11th!

Y Care International’s Robbie Cheyne blogs from North Staffordshire as he tours YMCAs across the UK to mark the launch of Y Care International’s Tools for Recovery campaign to help rebuild lives devastated by Ebola.

Today was the first day of the tour and it was great to be back at YMCA of the Year, North Staffordshire YMCA. When we arrived we met up with Youth Engagement Worker, Lewis Barkway, who showed us around, and Tim and I  had the chance to speak with residents of the YMCA. Many of the young people we met had faced difficult challenges in their life but were gaining the support and skills from the YMCA to overcome them. I was excited  about Tim letting them know how Liberia YMCA are doing the same in their communities. 

Robbie and Tim discuss how YMCAs can support Y Care International's Tools For Recovery campaign.

Robbie and Tim discuss how YMCAs can support Y Care International’s Tools For Recovery campaign.

Tim and I kicked off by talking about Y Care International and Liberia YMCA before going into some facts about the Ebola virus. We started by asking the participants what their knowledge of Ebola was. “It was interesting that we really didn’t know that much about it beyond what was on the news,” a youth worker told me. “I think that when Ebola isn’t in the front pages anymore, people seem to forget what’s happening overseas.” added Lewis Barkway.

We had a chance to talk about our upcoming Join Hands Challenge coming up on July 11th. The YMCA staff and residents even had a practice run of their own and it worked rather well! There was a real buzz in North Staffordshire YMCA at the end of the Roadshow. People really responded to Tim’s stories and the passion he has for his work. The first stop of the tour has been a success and it shows that staff and young people really want to get behind the appeal, and support young people in Liberia get the Tools for Recovery they need.

Tim Kamaboakai, said: “One of the things that moved me was the number of young people visible in the YMCA. When I was talking with Lewis he told me about how the YMCA supports the settlement of young people with safe housing whilst getting skills to get a job.

“I think the key thing was that we are both running similar programmes but in different contexts.

Tim shows participants  how the Ebola virus spread across West Africa.

Tim shows participants how the Ebola virus spread across West Africa.

“In Liberia we wamt to provide opportunities so young people can fulfill their potential and that’s what they are are doing here. I learned that North Staffordshire is the YMCA of the year and so they must be doing so much for their communities which is really impressive.

“The staff were so friendly and supportive, eager to learn about Tools for Recovery appeal and really willing to help us.”

After a quick tour of the YMCA it was off to Liverpool on the train. On the taxi drive to our hotel the driver let us that we were staying  next to Albion House, the original administration building of the White Star Line shipping company made famous for their ill-fated vessel the Titanic. Just  across from our hotel was the Royal Albert Dock and the taxi driver gave us more tips for places to see. Through our visit to YMCA Wirral we’re going to be taken on a tour of the Dock and Tim and I both agree that Liverpool is bursting with history that we’re keen to explore when we get some time off tomorrow!

When I asked Tim what he fancied for dinner he replied that he likes “anywhere with chicken on the menu” and so the solution was obvious – we went for Tim’s first Nandos! Tim’s verdict was “great but in Liberia we like it more spicy than this!”

Note: Tim got extra hot…

The UK government will match every donation pound for pound thanks to the UK Aid Match scheme. This means twice as many people reached, twice as much hope offered. Donate online to the Tools for Recovery Appeal today or text YGIV30 with your donation amount to 70070.