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Dedicated Watford charity receives regional award at Chamber of Commerce ceremony

A dedicated Watford charity that has been supporting highly vulnerable people to live life to their full potential for more than a century has been recognised with an accolade at the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce business awards.

One YMCA, based in Watford, picked up the Business of the Year West Herts award at this year’s Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards, which was held once again at the Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden. 

The business has continuously served the local community in Hertfordshire for more than 135 years and maximised positive social impact to evolve and develop.

The organisation provides the community with services including accommodation, family services, activities for children and young adults, counselling, wellbeing programmes and community centres. One YMCA also provides domestic and sexual violence victim support and perpetrator programmes.

Focusing on sustainability over profitability, the business works hard with funding streams while meeting the needs of vulnerable people in the community. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, One YMCA has worked relentlessly with Watford Borough Council over the past two years to end rough sleeping in Watford.

Briege Leahy, CEO of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “There can be no doubt One YMCA provides an essential service to its communities. And the scale of support and, indeed, the level of income required to operate, let along grow, is quite staggering. 

“I can imagine a relentless machine is hard at work 24/7, supported by generous and committed employees, volunteers and funders. Long may that continue.”

One YMCA’s plans include the continuation of Mission 25 – the charity’s commitment to double the impact they have and double the number of vulnerable people they can support by 2025. The strategy involves 10 concepts including Making Homes, Going Digital, Going Green and Developing People.

Guy Foxell, Chief Executive of One YMCA said: “I’m delighted that the hard work and dedication of One YMCA colleagues has been celebrated with this award. Our services are more needed now than ever and it’s clear from this recognition that businesses across West Herts value the vital work we do. 

This fantastic achievement is a great boost to our team and it was great to have been part of such an amazing event where so many organisations were recognised, shortlisted and highly commended for all their hard work. I hope it leads to even more opportunities to work in partnership with Hertfordshire’s supportive corporate community.”

In order to raise its profile, One YMCA became a recognised charity of choice and enhanced its brand identity with a new website, site and van signage and use of social media.

Briege added: “The awards ceremony is always a highlight in the Chamber’s calendar and this year was no different. It was wonderful to celebrate the achievements and contribution of the county’s businesses and charitable organisations.

“The awards are also a fantastic opportunity for Hertfordshire businesses to showcase their performance and achievements to the Hertfordshire business community and beyond.”

Now in its 11th year, the Inspiring Herts awards took place on June 9 and included categories such as Excellence in People Development, Excellence in International Trade, The Green Award, Workplace Wellbeing Award and Best Use of Technology.

Around 400 delegates attended the awards ceremony, which was sponsored by Viatris and SA Law, along with a number of local dignitaries, including; Kate Holland Hibbert, Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire; and Professor Damian Ward, Dean, Hertfordshire Business School.

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