Dream Chasers win praise for YMCA fundraiser

National Citizenship Scheme fundraiser at YMCA Bedford.
National Citizenship Scheme fundraiser at YMCA Bedford.

A group of young people organised and ran a fundraiser to help the YMCA in Bedfordshire.

The team of 16 members of the National Citizenship Service (NCS) arranged entertainment at the charity’s base in Conduit Road, Bedford, with local musicians Liam Rowlands and Akash Paul performing.

The group chose the YMCA as they knew people who had used the service and wanted to help impact the lives of young people and vulnerable adults in the community.

The fun day took place on September 1 between 3pm and 6.30pm, and as well as music there were games, face painting and food on sale.

Members of the community, YMCA residents and staff all attended, helping to make the event a success.

Dele Johnson, participation co-ordinator at the YMCA, said: “We are very grateful for the efforts of the young people completing the NCS and are extremely impressed with the level of commitment, dedication and professionalism these 15 - 17 year olds demonstrated both before and during the event.

“Young people usually get a bad rap for things happening in our community, it is really refreshing to see young people with this calibre of determination and commitment and wish the whole group all the best in their future endeavours.

NCS team members Bradley said: “Team Dream Chasers are a group in the NCS programme. We have made a project to raise money and awareness for the YMCA youth hostel and have raised a lot of money for the cause. People who came to the event on September 1 have given positive comments for what we have done.”

Chand said: “We decided to base our NCS project around youth hostels as we felt that within the group, our knowledge about the work these organisations do was very limited and we knew other people in our communities would feel the same way. By hosting our project at a youth hostel we have not only raised money for the YMCA’s trust fund, but we’ve been able to raise awareness of the cause too.

“For example my cousin and her friend who attended the event, told me themselves that they didn’t really know what a youth hostel was used for before our event. Moreover, we chose to contact the YMCA group first as a member of our team has actually had experience in the past where he’s been helped by this particular team so we thought it best to give some help back.”

Raj said: “The YMCA staff were very welcoming and seemed eager to get our event going. It was very refreshing to see the community engaging with our project. The youths at the hostel also had a great time, and participated on the day. The project was very successful as it was easy to see the direct effect we had on the young people staying at the hostel. We created our event to not only raise awareness about the ymca youth hostel, but to entertain and give back to our community for participating in our event. We did this by hosting a raffle, all the prizes were kindly donated by local companies in Bedford who really understood and supported our cause.”

Celesta said: “We were able to receive Jack wolfskin bags, a free Gym membership from Robinson’s pool, a voucher for two at the Bedford Swan hotel, a free haircut, courtesy of Mario the Hairdresser and many more. We the DreamChasers are very moved by all the donations and feel very proud to be a part of such an amazing community.”

Nicole said: “Local musicians Liam Rowlands and Akash Paul came and kindly performed at the event. They added a range of music from Indian drums and Bhangra to guitar and vocals. All the people that came and the staff really enjoyed the music and it attracted people to stay at the event for longer and persuaded more donations.”