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Our history

From humble beginnings in the City of London in 1844, the YMCA has grown to become a worldwide organisation with 45 million members in 125 countries.

Since it was established, the YMCA has adapted to meet the needs of today’s young people and works with young men and women regardless of race, religion or culture. In every corner of the world, the YMCA is helping young people to build a future. The work we do everyday impacts on the lives of young people and their families in the local community.

See how the YMCA played its part during World War I.

YMCA Fairthorne Group operates throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and has developed rapidly since it was formed in 2002, supporting hundreds of thousands of children and young people in this time.  The Group is made up of:

  • YMCA Fairthorne Manor – formed in 1947 and until 2002 one of two National Centres owned and operated by YMCA England.  Originally a training centre for boys going to sea, it has developed into a community resource that sits at the heart of YMCA Fairthorne Group.
  • YMCA Winchester – formed in 1847 but only joined the Fairthorne Group in 2013
  • YMCA Portsmouth – formed in 1851
  • YMCA Southampton – formed in 1878
  • YMCA Basingstoke – formed in the 1990s.

Today, our staff and trustees are working towards an ambitious 5 years of sustained and quality growth as outlined in our Strategic Plan, which is informed by our concept of working the YMCA Way.