A Global Community
Whilst local needs and communities are at the heart of all YMCA operations, every YMCA is also part of the worldwide YMCA movement. Founded 175 years ago in London, England by young men who wanted to help struggling youth find their purpose and connect to the community, the YMCA has grown into a global ecumenical movement with a presence in 120 countries serving all youth and working together to build more just and inclusive world














1950's @ Greenhill ymca




















Early 70's @ Greenhill ymca
Our History
In 1844 George Williams, a young drapery merchant was living in London. The 1840's was a tough time, particularly in London. England was in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. This period marked a painful time for many workers, and the textile industry was one of the worst hit. Wealth, power and corruption were rife, there was a huge divide between the rich and poor and living conditions were notoriously low. Working conditions, even for young boys and girls, were inhumanly bad. With little free time and no place to go, many young people were lured into gambling, drinking and immoral living.
George Williams, a dedicated Christian made up his mind that something had to be done. He gathered together a few friends to form a society that met regularly and supported each other through the bad times and gain greater spiritual strength. The Group called itself the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). The idea of a YMCA caught on quickly and by the 1850s the Movement had spread across Europe, America and Australia.
So influential was the Movement, within 10 years, 38 Associations had been formed across 8 countries. In 1855, 99 Representatives from those 38 Associations met in Paris and founded the International Alliance of YMCAs.
The meeting provided many firsts, including the first international gathering of Christian laymen. The meeting in 1855 inspired the first secretary of the Geneva YMCA, Henry Dunant, to use similar methods to inaugurate the International Red Cross.

Greenhill YMCA
1914 – First record of YMCA work on current Greenhill site;
1914 – 1960s Outdoor activity programmes continue under canvas;
1970s –Purpose-built buildings are constructed transforming Greenhill into an all-year-round residential and outdoor education centre;
1970s-1990s – Programmes expand to include peace-building, street youthwork and local community work;
2008-2012 - £2.5m programme of site and facilities development, and continued development of youth support programmes
2012- 2019: Significant growth in users to 10,000 annually. Currently working towards a significant capital build of conference/activity facility (£1m)