Y Care International is the international relief and development agency of the YMCA in the UK and Ireland, co-founded in 1984 by Terry Waite CBE, humanitarian and former special envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury. We work in partnership with YMCAs in the developing world, funding and supporting development projects that help young people find alternatives to a future of poverty and disadvantage.

Young people are often neglected by their governments and receive less support than any other segment of the population. Many charities only support children (aged 0-18). Some of our development projects also support children, but our focus on young people (aged 15-25) makes us different.

We believe that our YMCA partners are best placed to understand the needs of their own communities, so we strive to work in equal partnership with them to formulate development projects that support disadvantaged young people. YMCAs are autonomous, local youth organisations, many of which have been established in their countries for decades. Working with them enables us to support projects that are staffed and run entirely by local people and that place an emphasis on involving young people in their design and management.

Most of our team is based at our London office, with several global youth work co-ordinators working from other parts of the UK and Ireland. We do not have any UK staff based overseas and we do not run Y Care International offices in other countries. Instead, our network of partner YMCAs in the developing world implements our projects, and staff from our London office’s International Programmes Department make regular short visits to monitor the work and meet project staff. Not only does this reduce overseas administration costs, it also allows us to empower and support local people, who are best placed to know how to support their own communities.

Y Care International’s international development projects are implemented through YMCAs in developing countries, so we are always working in partnership with organisations on the ground that are best placed to know the needs of local people. Before beginning a new project, our team consider any other agencies working in the area, to be sure the proposed work will complement and not duplicate the work they are doing. We also work with the ACT Alliance to respond to emergencies and humanitarian disasters, and with the UK building societies and banks that promote our emergency appeals and accept donations from staff and customers. Through our programme of global youth work with disadvantaged young people we also work with local YMCAs in the UK and Ireland.

No. Y Care International and our YMCA partners work to support young people of all faiths, and those of none. We are not a proselytising organisation and do not engage in missionary work.

Y Care International’s income is a mixture of private donations and legacies, as well as grants from the Government and the European Commission, grant-giving trusts and organisations like Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund. We also receive some funding from local YMCAs in the UK, Ireland and Sweden, donations from churches and schools, corporate donations and income from trading (such as selling Christmas cards).

In any given year, around half of our total income will come from individuals – so we couldn’t do what we do without the support we receive from people like you.

We can’t advise on other charities. For information on a charity’s activities you can call the Charity Commission on 0870 333 0123 or search its website.

We regret that our London office does not fund or enter into partnership with external organisations, except within the framework of projects carried out by our partners in the Global South. Also see our FAQ on How does Y Care International decide which projects to support?

Y Care International does not have the resources to place volunteers with our projects overseas. If you are a skilled professional and would like to volunteer overseas for up to two years, visit the website of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). You can also browse a directory of international volunteer placements on the Volunteer Abroad website. From time to time we take on volunteers in our London office. Check the jobs and volunteering pages of our website for details of current opportunities. Local volunteers also play key roles in YMCAs all over the world. You might consider one of many volunteering opportunities with YMCAs in the UK and Ireland, like getting involved in activities at a local YMCA or working in a YMCA charity shop.

Check the jobs and volunteering section of our website regularly – details of new vacancies will be advertised there, and usually also on Charity Job and BOND‘s websites as they arise. Unfortunately, we cannot accept applications or CVs when we do not have job vacancies. For general information on careers in international development, see the Working in international development page on the University of Sussex’s website.

No. CARE International is also an international development organisation. It has 12 national members and operates in over 70 countries. CARE International UK, the UK national member of CARE, began work as a British charity in 1985, shortly after Y Care International was founded. Y Care International is not connected with either of these organisations.