„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


15th April 2020

Our Annual Report focuses on the highlights and the work that we have done during 2019 In cooperation with 38 national YMCAs, to positively influence the lives of young people.

We are pleased to present our 2019 Annual Report and we encourage you to read each page of this document. You will have a clear picture of the highlights, developments and achievements of YMCA Europe as a common working platform for the European movement.

The implementation of our Strategy´s final stages has been a priority. Therefore the report captures the concrete actions and programmes developed in 2019 under the three pillars adopted by our membership: Creating Spaces, Movement Strengthening and Representation & Advocacy. Together with our partners and stakeholders, we achieved all programmatic goals that were presented at the General Assembly. More than ever, Youth Empowerment was in the heart of all our actions.

The celebration of the 175th anniversary of the YMCA was a highlight and it has influenced further strategies at all levels. As organizers of the YMCA175 event held in London, we can proudly say that YMCA Europe has provided the space and opportunity to our world movement in order to connect and help to shape our common future. We promoted the active and genuine involvement of young people at all stages of the planning and implementation of this unique event. But we are especially proud of having involved key partners such as our hosting movement YMCA England & Wales and World YMCA, the YMCA of the USA and the YMCA World Urban Network. We are deeply thankful to these stakeholders knowing that without their commitment, vision and support, YMCA175 would have not been possible. Our gratitude is also expressed to our Steering Group, Management Team and the hundreds of volunteers, leaders and members of teams that worked in such a unique and fruitful project.

2019 was also the year in which we completed the first phase of the Organizational Review process. Significant changes were adopted within our Constitution with a focus on our governance bodies. We also started an open and exciting process which objective is to agree on the direction of travel for YMCA Europe aligned with the World YMCA and a focus on the added value that our platform provides to our members. We are thankful to our National General Secretaries and working platforms included in our present structure for their input as we collectively started to design our strategic direction.

Movement Strengthening was the other pillar that deserves a special chapter this year. As YMCA Europe we have an important responsibility in contributing to raise the profile and relevance of our movement by designing effective tools and putting in practice actions that benefit our member and cooperating YMCAs. The “health check” process, the data collection from local and national realities, the training sessions through our Leadership Academy and the ongoing work through our field, partner and programme groups have been concrete actions to build capacity and strengthen our network.

We completed the registration of YMCA Europe in Belgium, adapting to new legislation and increasing our advocacy and project management capacity. The transition process to establish our seat in Brussels was combined with structural changes mainly affecting our office in Prague, guaranteeing that we will continue working in a responsible and cost-effective way serving our cooperating and member YMCAs across Europe. Also in the Czech Republic, a good agreement with the City of Litomysl was reached and we were thankful for almost twenty years of partnership between both institutions. The Training Centre will remain as a resource but YMCA Europe will not have further responsibilities within this initiative. 

In this report, you will read about the projects that YMCA implemented. We want to highlight the impact of our “Roots for Reconciliation” initiatives developed in 2019 and the bridge to the next phase of the project that will continue providing effective spaces for peace building involving young people from different contexts. Social justice continued to be a key field in our work.

The Working Group on Refugees took steps forward in cooperation with all national YMCAs serving migrants, asylum seekers, displaced persons and refugees by mapping and assessing these programme initiatives across Europe.

In 2019 we made a special effort in communications and networking creating new online platforms, publishing internal and external news on a daily basis. We recognize the increasing importance of our digital approach as a way to better serve our members by interacting with them and raising our common profile.

On behalf of our Executive Committee and Staff Team, we express our deep gratitude for the support and commitment that you have provided to YMCA Europe. That is our main inspiration as we plan the next Strategic Period.

Strengthening the YMCA in Europe has been and will continue being our main goal. Thank you!


                    Mike Will                                      Juan Simoes Iglesias
                   President                                         Secretary General


Pdf version available here.