The beginning of the 1970s saw the culmination of a period of intense fundraising activity by the Grimsby YMCA in order to build the new Peaks Lane Hostel. The ceremonial lifting of the first turf and the planting of a commemorative oak tree on 7 December 1971 was carried out by Mr Michael Sleight of Binbrook who had donated the land in memory of his mother, Edith Mary Sleight.
The overriding concern, evident from minutes of meetings of the time, was finance. Projects and progress were constrained within the practical limits of available funds as they had been throughout the association’s history. Peaks Lane was a highly ambitious proposition, but one which the committee felt compelled to pursue in order to secure the association’s future. In the AGM Report for 1971, Committee Chairman Roland Archer wrote, ‘For success we need faith – the faith that can move mountains’.
That faith was rewarded when, in March 1972, Roland C Bellamy performed the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone of the new Peaks Lane development. In September, the Worshipful Mayor of Grimsby carried out the topping-out ceremony. The new centre, opened in 1973, was modern, light and airy; facilities included single study/bedrooms with wash-basin and central heating – 52 for single young men, 13 for women and four designed specifically for those with physical disability. Meals were available at any time for residents, members and friends, as well as colour television, activities, meeting room and a chapel.
From the 1970s onwards, Peaks Lane hostel provided accommodation for local people and travellers. Many a newcomer arriving in town in search of work on a trawler made their way to the YMCA in search of a bed for the night. Peaks Lane became the preferred option, particularly when the alternative was the seamen’s hostel in Riby Square.
Today our Peaks Lane hostel houses 72 residents 365 days a year providing services with extensive community reach, accommodation and related support, educational inclusion programmes for those disengaged from mainstream education as well as mental health and wellbeing activities for young people aged 18 upwards.
Within our accommodation support services, 80% of new residents arrive at their most chaotic, declaring ongoing problems around one or more of the following issues in their lives: Family/relationship breakdowns, Substance addiction, poor Mental Health, Criminal behaviour history and second or in some cases Third Generation unemployment (source: 12 months to November 2018, 156 individuals). Additionally, we find that these declarations are compounded by further issues often manifesting once they have moved in to our accommodation. Our role is to support them to build on their strengths to manage or overcome their issues, stabilizing through shelter, food and coaching support to enable future planning for positive outcomes that lead to successful, sustainable, productive, and independent lives.