Farewell to the Brighton YMCA and Big Lottery Pathways to Independence Project!

The ‘Pathways to Independence’ project was a 3 year initiative funded by the BIG Lottery Reaching Communities fund (March 2010-Feb 2013). It was a collaboration between Brighton YMCA, Wastewatch, Furniture Now!, Bike for Life and Sussex Central YMCA.

The project provided opportunities for single homeless people in the city (with support needs) to engage with meaningful activities such as; bike maintenance, gardening, art, card making, furniture restoration, make & mend (textiles), sport and storytelling. Enabling clients to build their skills to move towards independence

Throughout its lifetime:

    • 140 beneficiaries reported they had gained new life skills, as a result of better access to training and development.


    • 149 beneficiaries felt they have made new contacts / friends leading to reduced isolation, increased social cohesion and a stronger community.


    • 139 beneficiaries felt they are healthier / more active as a result of physical and / or mental exercise, whilst attending one of the activities on offer.


    • Whilst 126 beneficiaries stated they had a positive effect on their environment, through learning good practice and environmental awareness.


The areas clients felt they benefited most included; confidence, motivation, mental activity and communication skills.

The opportunities for social interaction were significant and attendees said they enjoyed the practical skills / experience. Most people reported that learning new skills and developing themselves was their greatest achievement along with getting results from hard work.