Chamber President joins Charity to mark 20-years of successful partnerships in Rotherham

Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber President Matthew Stephens joins friends of Fleming Gardens, in an official ceremony marking 20 years of YWCA Yorkshire’s support for women, children and families in Rotherham. 

YWCA Yorkshire is marking 20 years of partnership success in Rotherham. The charity was appointed by Council Leaders in 2004, with a remit to support young women and their children to thrive.  

The service launched with three Project Workers supporting families in ten purpose-built two-bedroom houses on the Fleming Gardens cul-de-sac. Between 2007 and 2022, the charity purchased ten more houses across Rotherham. In addition to the accommodation offer, YWCA Yorkshire supports 27 families in their own tenancies in the borough. 

YWCA Yorkshire has managed, strengthened and grown the Fleming Gardens service over the last two decades; demonstrating the value and impact achieved for communities through long-term, joined-up, provision and partnerships.   

In 2010 the charity recruited eight more Project Workers, responsible for delivering Early Help and Young Parent Tenancy Support. In early 2023, following a competitive tendering process, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC), approved YWCA Yorkshire’s funding until 2027 with a further option to extend until 2029. 

Working with some of the most vulnerable women, children and families in Rotherham, Fleming Gardens partners with community groups and services spanning health, education, criminal justice, housing and social care. Over two decades, Project Workers have supported and housed hundreds of people grappling with homelessness, mental health, domestic abuse and financial hardship.  

As well as housing, YWCA Yorkshire delivers bespoke mental health and wellbeing support, tenancy, parenting and relationship programmes, and pathways to skills training, qualifications and employment. 

Zara Stanley moved to Fleming Gardens as a single parent in November 2020. She had been sleeping on a sofa for seven months and had an eight-month-old baby.  Returning for the 20-year celebration event as a Charity Ambassador, Zara shared her story with Council Leaders, service partners and friends from across Rotherham.  

Zara said: “Things were tough before I got my house at Fleming Gardens. My daughter was just a small baby, and although my aunty was helping me, I didn’t have the space or support I needed to be the mum I knew I could be. With the help of my Support Worker, and finally a place of our own to call home, we were able to build a new life. I got help with understanding my finances, tenancy, learning new skills, speaking with health workers and child-care providers and finding work. When the time was right, they even helped me find my new home. My daughter is thriving now, and I tell everyone who will listen how special Fleming Gardens is and how much they have helped me. I’m proud of everything we have achieved, and I hope that by sharing my story, I can help other women find the support they need to.” 

 YWCA Yorkshire Chief Executive, Tracy Gollins, said: “Fleming Gardens is a shining example of what can be achieved through long-term and joined up thinking between councils, charities and communities. Twenty years of uninterrupted service has allowed us to invest in partnerships and uphold commitments to people we support and other professionals. Our Project Workers have been building inclusive, compassionate and respectful relationships over two decades. I’m proud of the staff team in Rotherham and thrilled to be joined by Council Leaders, service partners, The Chamber and friends of Fleming Gardens today, to celebrate the achievements of fantastic women like Zara.” 

The 20 Year Celebration event was held at Fleming Gardens on Wednesday 19 June 2024. Attendees welcomed a presentation by the Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor Sheila Cowen to Charity Chief Executive Tracy Gollins. Special thanks were given to Zara Stanley, who shared her inspiring story of life before and after Fleming Gardens, Rachel Bower who delivered an early edition from the Listening Project poetry series (Your Voice Matters), Hannah from Peile House (YWCA Yorkshire’s homeless hostel in Sheffield) who wowed crowds with three songs, and South Yorkshire Rock Choir who gave an uplifting performance.

YWCA Yorkshire are members of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce and last year they were shortlisted for the much-coveted Charity of The Year Award and were Highly Commended at the Barnsley and Rotherham Business Awards 2023.   

Any local businesses that would like to learn more about the vital work of  YWCA Yorkshire and how they can work with the charity to support women, Children and families in South Yorkshire, should email please [email protected]

Pictured: Tracy Golling Chief Exec of YWCA Yorkshire, Matthew Stephens Chamber President, Diane Offers HR Manager YWCA Yorkshire.

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