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“I have been fortunate enough to experience the growth in people’s personalities and confidence” Futsal coach Shane Burrows on why YMCA is the right choice

YMCA is an organisation in Cheltenham that focus on helping out those who are struggling with mental health issues.

The group have set up sports groups that help encourage people of all fitness’s to get active and take up a new hobby.

Shane Burrows, a futsal coach at the club, spoke about the importance of having a club like the YMCA

“We’re here to help people get active, get involved with other people to try and improve their mental health and get them feeling like they are included.

“We offer a wide range of activities including indoor and outdoor football, squash, badminton and basketball.

“We like to try and give people an equal chance therefore we don’t want to be seen as having really competitive sports groups that can exclude others.”

Starting a new hobby and meeting new people can seem quite daunting at times which may result in some people being put off but Burrows believes that at YMCA create an environment that helps participants feel more comfortable.

“We try to create a really friendly atmosphere where people can feel free to bond with others and have a good time playing the sports that they love.”

Whilst members of YMCA are looking for a social hobby it is also very much about how individuals can improve themselves individually as spoken about by Burrows.

“I have been fortunate enough to experience the growth in people’s personalities and confidence.

“I’ve seen people first start out by not wanting to talk to anyone and struggling to open up but after a few weeks, it’s really rewarding to see how many people come back every week and seeing how we have put a smile back on their face.

“As well as the mental side of it though, I have also seen incredible fitness journeys.

“One regular member first arrived struggling to walk after suffering a stroke and now if you saw him, you wouldn’t even know that he had been through something like that so that’s really pleasing.”

YMCA pride themselves on being a welcoming group who encourage anyone no matter the fitness to get involved to try and bring the community together.

Formed in 1855 by prominent leaders of local churches, YMCA now has over 58 million members in 119 countries.

“I think the main thing is that everyone here is just wanting to meet new people and make more friends” said Burrows.

“It’s good to step out of your comfort zone from time to time even if it is just to try it for a week.

“We accept people of all fitness types and we want to welcome as many people as we can here.”

As well as offering sports groups, YMCA is a wider organisation who also help people with day to day living with support groups, housing and family life.

“We’re very much about helping others out here and we even offer accommodation for those who might need it.

“Regarding the mental side of it, we have staff members on hand to chat about problems that someone could be dealing with.

“Thy’re really good I think because they offer support about difficult subjects but in a casual manner which makes it seem as if you were talking to a friend.

As an organisation geared for helping out the community, YMCA is open from nine in the morning until five o’clock in the evening Monday to Friday every week.

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