Chris’ Story

“Although I’ve only spent a handful of hours at YMCA Cambridge so far, it’s clear that the role it plays in the community is staggeringly important. I’m here because I’m currently doing my master’s degree in Physiotherapy (pre-registration) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, and YMCA Cambridge is very kindly hosting me for the Community Engagement part of the programme. I chose to organise this placement with YMCA Cambridge because I’ve never worked with the organisation before, yet it’s an important part of my local community. I had heard a lot about the diverse and meaningful work it does, which includes providing accommodation for those in need, as well as facilities and support for those who want to make more of themselves.

“For the next few weeks, I’ll continue to shadow the instructors and help out at the community gym, where people with long-term conditions and disabilities can be referred for access both to brand new fitness equipment and one-on-one sessions with the instructors who volunteer their time. The atmosphere in the gym is extremely welcoming, and the volunteers, staff and users of the facilities have been really friendly and approachable. It’s already obvious that YMCA caters for clients with a huge variety of mental and physical conditions by providing its volunteers with the tools to encourage their clients towards their individual goals. Needless to say, I think this is a fantastic service that offers unique benefits to its users on many levels: it’s motivating, it’s mentally and physically stimulating, and it reinforces the links in the community that are central to YMCA’s vision for Cambridge and beyond. As with so many things, I believe you get out of this service what you put in: If the community gym’s clients arrive with the mindset to do their best and overcome their challenges, I’ve seen that YMCA provides the facilities that can transform this attitude into meaningful personal change.”