Support for community groups and organisations

YMCA Scarborough – planning for the future

Stories: accepting award Scarborough YMCA
Stories: Older lady crafting at Scarborough YMCA

With the support of Community First Yorkshire, this charity now has the resources and skills to better meet community needs in central Scarborough.

What was the challenge?

YMCA Scarborough owns a large multi-purpose building, including a theatre, in Scarborough.  The charity was going through a number of organisational changes as they moved towards a stronger community focus for their building and services.  The challenge was how to balance meeting the needs of the local population to tackle low incomes, poor health and lack of opportunities, with the charity’s need to earn income through its theatre, which relies on the visitor and tourism market.

How did Community First Yorkshire help?

YMCA Scarborough wanted to create a new development worker post to work in the community. Steve, the Chief Officer at the YMCA, contacted Mark from Community First Yorkshire for advice on understanding the organisation’s current challenges and to explore what support was available.

Steve explained, “It was time for a root and branch review so we could strengthen all areas of our organisation. We had been working on a draft business plan as we knew the change to a greater community focus was the direction we wanted to take.  Community First Yorkshire helped us self-assess how we were doing as a charity which was a helpful exercise, especially for the board of trustees.  It also created some really interesting discussions at board meetings and helped us to identify some valuable answers.”

Community First Yorkshire helped Steve and his trustees create an action plan and provide access to funding to complete the business plan.  Steve explains that “… Community First Yorkshire were really supportive and encouraging and helped us plan for change.”

Support from Mark was in the form of simple coaching conversations with more intensive support available when needed.  Mark’s colleagues at Community First Yorkshire also provided some specific marketing expertise to help YMCA’s outreach focus in the community.

Mark at Community First Yorkshire said: “YMCA Scarborough has been on a real journey with us. Not only have they worked to develop their organisation, they’ve also grown in confidence and built stronger connections with their community. It’s been a pleasure to help them on their path to success.”

“Mark and his team have been fantastic advocates for us as a developing community anchor organisation, and the whole experience has been tremendously positive.  Community First Yorkshire provided both strategic and practical support and this is now making a difference in how we operate.”
Steve, the Chief Officer at the YMCA

About the organisation.

YMCA Scarborough is a registered charity, run by local people to serve the local community since 1846. The charity focuses on providing support and opportunities to young people and the wider community – helping them to believe in themselves and realise their full potential. Activities include sport, musical theatre, theatre, youth clubs and volunteering as well as support for local VCS organisations and sector-wide promotion of volunteering.

What does the future look like?

Thanks to Community First Yorkshire’s support, the YMCA now has a Development Worker who has been in post for about a year.  This new staff member is busy establishing contacts and making the YMCA a safe and accessible space for all community groups in Scarborough. He is exploring partnerships and is currently brokering a new project providing mental health support for young people.

Steve says, after working with Community First Yorkshire, “Every day is busier. There are different conversations and relationships and more opportunities and we are a stronger local charity.”

Do you need help with…
  • Securing income for your organisation or project?
  • Turning your ideas of becoming a new community organisation into a reality?
  • Benefitting from greater security as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)?
  • Thinking about reviewing your organisation and planning ahead?
  • Understanding trustee’s legal roles and responsibilities?
  • Benefitting from a financial health check?

Our advisers can help. Call us today 01904 704177 or

How we can help you.

As a registered charity, we understand your needs. Our local advisers work across North Yorkshire and will come to you to ensure you get access to the best quality advice and guidance including funding advice, helping you set up as a community organisation, governance and trustees, finance support, marketing advice, and exploring ways to further develop your organisation.
If you know a community group, charity or social enterprise that needs some support to be even more successful, contact one of our friendly advisors on 01904 704177 or