The Exhibition was first launched in the Palace of Westminster on 6 June
2019, and the first stop was the YMCA175 event in the ExCel London.

YMCA is the oldest and largest youth charity in the world, with YMCAs in 119 countries and delivering services and programmes to over 60 million people.

On the 6 June 2019 we celebrated the 175th anniversary of YMCA.

In recent years our history and heritage has been taking on a higher profile. It is acknowledged within our strategic plan and more recently in the report of the commission the term ‘Being the Guardians of our heritage’ has been acknowledged as an important aspect of the work of YMCA England & Wales.

In August 2019 we hosted a major celebration of YMCA incorporating an event for young volunteers and leaders from YMCAs across the world. In the planning of this it was agreed that our History and Heritage should play a significant role in the event and twelve months beforehand a small group from a number of countries came together under the leadership of YMCA England & Wales to plan the heritage content for the event.

As this developed into a potentially major exhibition of YMCA programmes and services from across the world, we in YMCA England & Wales decided to explore the possibility of taking the exhibition on the road with the exhibition being hosted by local YMCAs across the four Nations of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

We were very fortunate to secure funding of over £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Movement Trust Fund to make this happen and the 175 Exhibition & Roadshow was born.

The Exhibition was launched in the Palace of Westminster on 6 June 2019, its first stop was the YMCA175 event in the ExCeL London where some 3250 people had the opportunity to visit and interact with the Exhibition. Between September 2019 and March 2020 the Exhibition went on the road visiting 9 YMCAs across the four nations.

We trained just under 40 young people on how to capture oral histories from people in the host communities and engaged approximately 75 volunteers who helped facilitate the Exhibition when it visited their YMCA. In addition to this, including the people from YMCA175 we estimate that around 5,500 people visited the exhibition.

In partnership with