SOUTHEND YMCA has been named as this year’s official mayoral charity.
More than 200 VIPs and special guests attended the ceremony at Barclays Bank, Southend High Street, on Wednesday.
Mayor Judith McMahon said: “Southend YMCA is like a diamond. A very precious thing.”
The charity has worked for young people in south Essex since 1897, providing education, housing, training and recreational activities.
In 1914, a canteen, accommodation and spiritual support was provided to young troops in Shoebury barracks before they went off to the front line of World War 1.
An old postcard depicting the charity’s tented camp in Leigh-on-Sea in 1917 was recently discovered.
More recently, accommodation has offered shelter and emotional support for a range of homeless youngsters, including orphans and young people leaving care.
A school was opened in 2013 offering an ‘alternative’ educational approach.
Charity CEO Syrie Cox used the mayoral launch to appeal to the local community to do even more for its vulnerable young people in 2016.
“There is so much more we want to do – and could do,” she said. “If the challenges facing children and young people are close to your heart, contact me.”
Mark Churchward, a senior leader at Southend Christian Fellowship, handed over a £700 donation to the mayor.
Also attending was Southend MP James Duddridge, who said: “I urge everyone to do more for the YMCA. Be inspired by these inspirational people.”
This year will see a number of events supporting Southend YMCA, but before then, you can donate to Southend YMCA, Newlands, 85 Ambleside Drive, Southend, SS1 2FY.
Alternatively you can pay online via paypal at www.southendymca.org.uk or by calling 01702 301301 to volunteer or set up a fundraising event.