YMCA London South West helped Daniel get a career and figure out the direction he wanted to take in life. Today, he does the very important job of maintaining our centres and sites and keeping them safe, fresh and up to date.
Varied work responsibilities
Originally interested in theatre and production he found it very hard to get a job and was unsure what he wanted to do. He tried a few things and ended up at YMCA Surbiton where he started out doing a bit of painting, decorating and general maintenance.
Today, no day is the same for Daniel, who can be found painting the gym studio, cleaning out old furniture from the hostel, taking rubbish to the waste site or hanging up new signs.
“My work responsibilities have changed since I started three years ago. In addition to being the painter I also do a lot of driving. I’m sort of a courier –if anyone needs anything brought over from one site to another I can do that. Although I’m mainly based at Surbiton I sometimes cover for Wimbledon as well, doing the same things I do here over there. I am also in charge of the carbon footprint at YMCA Surbiton – of thinking of ways that we can decrease the amount of waste and recycle more etc,” Daniel says.
“YMCA LSW is a really nice place to work, and I really enjoy my job because no day is ever the same and the people I work with are great”.
Opportunities to grow and develop
“I like the fact that there are opportunities to develop and grown within the YMCA – there are plenty of courses and training opportunities available and if it’s offered to me and I can benefit from it, I usually jump on board,” says Daniel.
“For instance, I have done a first aid course, a course on youth gangs and crime and a budgeting course”.
A lifetime with the scouts
When he’s not working at the YMCA, Daniel is spending a lot of his spare time with the Scouts.
Every Monday, he gets into his car and drives 22 miles to meet with the 23rd Camberwell; a group based in Camberwell that Daniel has been involved with since he was six years old.
“I started out in the 23rd as a Beaver when I was six years old. At 18 I was asked if I wanted to help out as an assistant and at about 21 I took over the group. I have been with the Scouts for 21 years now!”
Daniel says: “I do it to give back. It’s great seeing the young people enjoy it, and seeing them step up to responsibility and grow. Also, Scouts is about everlasting friendships, and it’s about trying on new things that are more challenging than what they do at home. This way they learn new things.
My background from the Scouts has definitely helped me with my job here. It’s taught me how to talk in front of big groups, liaising with different kinds of people, not wasting money, time keeping and so forth”.
I think the YMCA certainly should look into a partnership with Scouts. For instance, the sports halls at YMCA Wimbledon and YMCA John Innes centre would have made good Scout facilities”.
In 2014, a group of young people from the 23rd Camberwell took part in YMCA’s annual fundraising event Sleep Easy in Wimbledon. The national event aims to raise awareness about homelessness issues, and involves members of the public spending one night “sleeping rough so others don’t have to”.
“The Scouts were all excited and really enjoyed taking part in the event. Afterwards, we had a chat about what it actually meant to sleep rough, which I believe really opened their eyes. I think you have to experience it to know what it is about,” says Daniel.
“I wouldn’t mind getting even more involved with the organising of the event in the future. I like to get involved and help out where I can.
I know the young people in the group would definitely be up for doing it again. They have already talked about how next time they could make a ‘Home, Sweet Home’ door sign for their cardboard box!”