Demolition commences of worn-out hostel paving the way 

for a flagship new home for homeless young people.


City YMCA London is proud to announce the start of the re-development of its Errol Street accommodation. Its contractors will start to demolish the worn-out old building this week. A brand new, £19 million flagship building is due to open by autumn 2018 giving a hope and a future to 10,000 young homeless Londoners over the next 60 years.

The charity has been awarded a grant of £8.76 million towards the costs of the new home from the Mayor of London from Department of Health funding. The award is a key component of the charity’s ambitious plan to create the new 146-bed home providing much-needed bed spaces to some of London’s most vulnerable young people. The building will offer a new model of supported accommodation incorporating 146 en-suite bedrooms, social spaces and a fitness facility. The inclusion of move-on accommodation will allow homeless young people the chance to learn what it means to live independently whist still living within a supported environment. 

City YMCA London retains the challenge to raise a further £3.5m over the next two years to ensure that the new home is built to the desired specification, giving the best chances for vulnerable young people well into the future. With 82% of the funding already committed, City YMCA London is launching an appeal to ask people and local companies to get involved. The appeal offers a range of ways to engage from Buying a Brick at just £10 to inviting businesses to Sponsor a Room for £25,000.

Chief Executive Gillian Bowen said: 

“Today marks a significant step forward in our ability to see this vision fulfilled. Over the last four years we have been working with a single focus, to create a new accommodation giving thousands more young people the chance to make a future of their own choosing. Today that vision is within our grasp.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:  

“London has a chronic shortage of affordable housing for young people who have support needs. This development will provide modern facilities in a safe and secure setting – it means City YMCA can help more young people who become homeless to rebuild their lives and give them the chance of a brighter future.” 

Last Julys homelessness CHAIN statistics indicate that the number of homeless young people in London has doubled over the last five years. Existing accommodation is in high demand for a client group who often need significant support. Providing that support allows them to move on making space for other homeless young people to accept accommodation. 

Appeal Chairman, Colin Passmore, Senior Partner at Simmons & Simmons a Founder Room Sponsor said: 

“Securing the funding for this vision has been a fabulous process. We’re delighted to have the support of the London Mayor, the City Bridge Trust and a range of leading foundations, companies and individuals. Our thanks go to them all for placing their faith in the City YMCA London team. After a great start we are now appealing for others across London to support the appeal.” 

City YMCA London would like to thank our major funding partners, The Mayor of London, The City of London Social Investment Fund, The Garfield Weston Foundation,  The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers and LandAid whose giving leadership is making this new home for young homeless Londoners possible. 



Work starts to demolish our worn-out Errol Street Hostel.  Dec 2017


JUNE 2016

City YMCA London are delighted to confirm that they have secured a significant grant from the Mayor of London towards the costs of building the new Errol Street Hostel. The £8,760,000 grant will be used to help the organisation take forward their vision to construct the new hostel on their existing site in Errol Street, South Islington. 

Chief Executive, Gillian Bowen said “This is a significant boost to our vision to create a new hostel for homeless young Londoners who, often through no fault of their own, are forced to sleep on a friends sofa or rough on London’s streets. We are indebted to the Mayor of London for his support of our appeal.”

City YMCA London’s planned hostel will create 146 bed spaces for some of London’s most at-risk young people. Over it’s 40 year history the charity have already helped over 10,000 homeless young people get back on their feet and get their lives together. The charity are passionate to give young people the opportunity to create a future of their own choosing and giving them shelter, warmth, food and self respect back is the firm step to returning to normality, allowing a homeless young person the space to take back control. 

Their plans are to open the new hostel by the Autumn of 2018 in a £19m scheme that will set new standards in hostel and move-on accommodation in London and beyond. 

With 82% of the funds already secured City YMCA London are now appealing for people to get behind their fundraising appeal to make the fitting out of the building possible. Te charity need to raise a further £3.5m to bring the construction to completion. Companies can help by  naming a room and individuals by buying a brick. Every gift makes the realisation of a new home for young Londoners possible. 




JUNE 2016

Our thanks to The Garfield Weston Foundation for your grant of £350,000 to the Errol Street Appeal. Your support allowed City YMCA London to secure the freehold of the hostel site, making the whole development possible. Your early giving leadership has established a strong confidence in our appeal resulting in a string of significant grants and donations for the project. Thank you!


JUNE 2016

Our thanks to the Clothworkers Foundation for your grant of £250,000 to the Errol Street Appeal. Your generous grant is fabulous and beyond our expectations. Thank you .


JUNE 2016

Our thanks to the Maurice and Hilda Laing Trust and the Kirby Laing Foundation for your grants of £225,000 and £150,000 respectfully to the Errol Street Appeal. Your generous and early support is amazing and has given huge confidence to our appeal. Thank you .


JUNE 2016

Our thanks to the City Bridge Trust’s Social Investment Fund for your investment of £1,750,000 to the Errol Street development. Your generous social investment is going to make the delivery of the new hostel possible. We understand that it is also the largest single Social Investment award that you have ever made. That’s significant to you and us. Thank you .


23 MARCH 2016


City YMCA London calls on Mayoral candidates to put young people first in Manifesto for May’s election.

Young people from City YMCA London are calling on the next Mayor of London to combat low wages, rising levels of rough sleepers and a lack of housing caused by wasted brownfield land in the first ever YMCA in London Manifesto.

Major recommendations from the YMCA in THE LONDON MANIFESTO include:

  • Utilise previously occupied business spaces and redevelop them into suitable low-cost accommodation

Invest in the development of alternative models of accommodation and provide opportunities for land to be used to deploy such models

Pay the London Living Wage to all young people aged under 25-years-old who work within GLA services or on GLA-funded contracts

Invest in alternative models of supporting young people who are homeless, such as supported lodgings and Housing First

Provide mental health training to Met Police Officers in order to help them to identify and treat people in an appropriate way, who they suspect to have mental health conditions.


JUNE 2015

A redundant Care Home has been given a new lease of life as Hackney's first hostel for homeless young people. Monarch Court is possibly the first new hostel to open in London for years. With the numbers of young people being made homeless in London doubling over the last two years, the 87 beds will help nearly 2,000 young homeless people get their lives back on track over the next 15 years. 

City YMCA London would like to thank the Greater London Authority, City Bridge Trust and the South Hackney Parochial Foundation for their partnership in this success.


27 MAY 2015


Today was the State opening of Parliament where the Queen gave her 2015 speech. One of our Patrons, Rev’d Rose Hudson-Wilkin (The Queens Chaplain) led the procession.

I was on Queens Speech ‘watch’ regarding welfare reforms and the Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill made reference to housing benefit for 18 to 21 year olds:

  • Youth Allowance: A time limited allowance with  a strong work related condition. After 6 months they will be required to go on an apprenticeship, training or community work placement.
  • Automatic Entitlement: remove housing support for 18 to 21 year olds
  • Jobcentre Plus Adviser: provide support in schools to supplement careers advice and provide routes into work experience and apprenticeships.

We have no details at present around potential exemptions.  City YMCA London currently have exempt status and are hopeful that this will be maintained and mindful of how we must strategically position ourselves going forward.

Young adults (aged 18-21) will no longer be automatically entitled to receive Housing Benefit and will be expected to remain within the family home.  Young people are homeless for many different reasons and for young people we work with returning ‘home’ is not an option.  Our experience tells us that housing benefit is the only thing separating them from the street.

We continue to work tirelessly to support our young people to gain employment or aspire to improve educational attainment and recognise that many of them do achieve this as they have a safe base – City YMCA – to do this from. Removing automatic entitlement to housing benefit will only create further instability in their lives and make the prospect of finding work more difficult.

City YMCA developed a new housing model in 2014 displaying our vision of what we want to achieve with young people going forward – or rather what we want young people to achieve for themselves. This is an image for housing provision where young people are supported to excel. Engagement aspects of the proposed government ‘Youth Allowance’ is not too far away from our model and provides some comfort for young people potentially referred to City YMCA as they are not set up to fail.

City YMCA London will be lobbying for the exemption status to remain in place for 18-21 year olds. We will be lobbying for automatic entitlement to remain.

Kind regards,


Gillian Bowen | Chief Executive Officer

A Registered Charity No 1053864. 

A Registered Company No 3169665 

Regulator of Social Housing No H4099

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