YMCA Blackburn was established in 1896 and is part of the Global YMCA movement.
In October 2016, the Board decided to transfer YMCA Blackburn’s activities to another YMCA. The decision was taken to enable YMCA Blackburn to transform into Y:Housing, a support vehicle to help YMCAs across the country to respond to an attractive but challenging opportunity.
That opportunity was presented by the national YMCA body, YMCA England & Wales, disposing of all their housing stock. As most of their stock was managed by individual local YMCAs, YMCA England offered those YMCAs a first option to purchase at a 45% discount.
YMCA England set a March 2018 deadline to complete the sales and, due to Homes England (HE) grants attached to the properties, only HE-registered providers can purchase them. However, most YMCAs were not registered and had no prospect of achieving registration the time and capacity.
If the individual YMCAs could not meet the deadline, the 45% discount would have been rescinded and the properties placed on the open market, which risked them leaving the YMCA Movement.
To protect and grow the social impact the YMCA network delivers through its housing footprint, YMCA Blackburn – which was a HE registered provider, would re-brand as Y:Housing and raise the investment required to purchase the properties and then lease them back to individual YMCAs under standard management agreement arrangements.
In following years Y: Housing provided a vehicle for YMCAs to retain the management of their schemes. To date 9 individual YMCAs with 251 units of accommodation have been supported, with a further 45 units of affordable accommodation located in Bolton and the Fylde Coast totalling 296 units of accommodation for young people in need of housing.
Our affordable developments in Bolton and Fylde Coast were completed in the first quarter of 2022. YMCA Blackburn has future developments in the pipeline with a project in Wellington scheduled to start in quarter three providing 28 units of move on accommodation.