YMCA Exeter has a big vision. We believe that every young person should have access to affordable, permanent housing and support if needed, in a community environment where they can thrive.  

Following much planning and fundraising, in 2022 the first residents moved into Sidwell Studios, a newly converted warehouse, containing 26 self-contained studio apartments in the heart of Exeter.

Today, those residents are thriving in a home of their own.    

And now in 2024, we’re excited to unveil our plans for more ground-breaking Supported Housing Pathways, securing stable accommodation for the young people of Torbay and Plymouth.  

The new plans will see 83 homes established for young people at risk of or facing homelessness.   

This new initiative has been made possible through significant investment from the Homes England Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme (SHAP). The new funding will cover 65% of the housing costs, plus support staff for three years – with more funds yet to be raised. 

The new Supported Housing Pathways will provide a comprehensive support system for young individuals in Torbay and Plymouth facing challenges in securing stable housing. Through strategic partnerships in Torbay with YMCA South Devon and Torbay Council and in Plymouth with Young Devon as the support provider, YMCA Plymouth and Plymouth City Council, YMCA Exeter will address the pressing and growing issue of homelessness among young people.   

The focus will also include a holistic approach that encompasses housing, support services, and community integration, with a large focus on Employment, Meaningful Occupation, Training and Education (EMOTE).  

The Growing Need 

There is an acute need for supported housing provision in Torbay and Plymouth. In 2023, there were 80 young people in Plymouth with medium to high support needs, without access to supported housing and at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping. Combined with that, the level and complexity of need of people transitioning to adult services from children’s services is increasing. In 2024, it is estimated that nearly 300 young adults in Plymouth will require support from Adult Social Care in the future.  

These new plans will create housing provision with onsite 24-hour staffing for young people with medium to high support needs, plus options for transitioning into supported housing when a young person is ready to live with a lower level of support.  

As we move forward with this exciting endeavour, we’re looking for people, businesses or organisations that would like to partner with us.  

Maybe you have a kitchen business, or you’re a window fitter. Perhaps you run an insurance company or work at a Home Depot. We’d love to talk to you about becoming a Pathway Partner and helping establish permanent homes for young people.  

Report on BBC Spotlight

With thanks to BBC Spotlight for reporting on the plans for new accommodation for Plymouth and Torbay

Watch Here

Featured on BBC Radio Devon

With thanks to BBC Radio Devon for speaking with our JCEO Gareth Sorsby

Listen here

Report on ITV Westcountry

With thanks to ITV Westcountry for speaking to us.

Watch here

Follow us on Facebook for further YMCA Exeter updates.