Welcome By Cathal McCann | YMCA Newcastle

April 2023

I got involved with the YMCA Newcastle through the school based youth work in 2016 as part of the local youth provision in Newcastle. It was through the youth worker Denise that I learned about the YMCA Newcastle youth project & Youth Council. She indicated this would be a great programme for me during a time when I was struggling with my identity and coming out as a gay young man. The programme was integral to supporting and building my confidence and esteem following a very challenging and uncertain time in my life.

Following joining the youth council in 2019 and through the support of the team, I was given a platform to advocate and support other young people just like me who needed a safe and nurturing environment where they could be themselves and valued for who they were, not judged based on the gender of the person they loved.

My leaders encouraged and supported me to set up the Starts with the Heart inclusion group and cafe in YMCA Newcastle which is an LGBTQAI+ support group. It was also during this time I achieved my accredited youth work qualification and part time employment. The project has gone from strength to strength and recently became an accredited referral centre through Cara Friend.

Based on my ongoing works and achievements I was recently given the opportunity through the National YMCA to attend the World YMCA Summit in Denmark July, 2022. The conferencebroughttogetherGlobal YMCAs from over 100 countries to share and agree Vision 2030.
This gave me the opportunity to be open and honest about the importance of meaningful work in supporting equity, diversity and inclusion and ensuring that the rights of all young people are fully met and they are free to be and to love as they see fit.
“The YMCA Newcastle has changed my life for the better, they supported me through the rain and helped me see the rainbow.”

YMCA are life changers and game changers for young people. I am excited for what the future holds for me in this amazing organisation.

Cathal McCann | YMCA Newcastle