YMCA Exeter is one of the oldest YMCAs in the world, founded in 1846 just two years after the first meeting was held in St Paul’s Churchyard in London.

Our story begins with local Exeter philanthropist John Dinham, who caught the vision of the national YMCA movement and was passionate about creating an Exeter expression. John Dinham was born in 1788 in Kenton and was a very wealthy tea merchant with a business on Fore Street. The very first meeting of YMCA Exeter was held in Gandy Street and our vision today, remains the same as during that mid-Victorian era, to share God’s love in a truly inclusive and caring way, practically responding to the changes in social, economical and an cultural contexts.

There are lots of places in Exeter which mean a lot to local people. Whether you studied at the university, have worshipped in the cathedral, are an avid Chiefs of City supporter, or have spent many special days down by the quay, the great City of Exeter means many things to so many different people. Yet for some, their attachment is with Exeter’s YMCA. As a place of rest during the WW2, to a place of learning in 2017, YMCA has played a fundamental role in Exeter’s recent history and we are inviting you to join in making some new stories.

During 2016 we celebrated 170 years of Supporting young people by being awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The grant has enabled us to engage our young people with both our YMCA history as well as helping them understand the importance of their own history, as they make it now for generations to come.

To find out more about our grant from HLF visit www.heritagenow.org.uk or download our app to start discovering your place within our story! (Currently only available on Google Play)