The YMCA has been working in local communities across Australia since 1851. However, George Williams, a drapery merchant, founded the YMCA in England in 1844 during the Industrial Revolution. 

This was a time of great despair and poverty and George decided do something to help. He gathered a few friends and formed a society that met regularly to support each other and gain renewed strength in body, mind and spirit. The group focused on the welfare of young men and related social concerns.

The founding members wasted no time organising YMCA branches throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. Over the next ten years, YMCA movements spread across Western Europe, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and India.

YMCA associations and branches are now found across the world.

From the mid-1930s to the early 1960s, the Depression and world wars forced the YMCA to return to its original foundations of social and community concern. The emphasis was on:

  • youth work
  • youth clubs
  • physical development
  • leadership training
  • education and welfare. 

About Y Whittlesea

Y Whittlesea exists to strengthen the communities we work in. We strive to:

  • make a positive difference by providing opportunities for every person to be healthy, happy and connected 
  • deliver on our commitment to young people through our benevolent work.

Y Whittlesea initially supported the health and well-being of our community by managing recreation centres and youth programming. However, since 2014, we have grown to include a commitment to young people and diversity and inclusion through quality early learning and disability services. 

We reinvest profits to grow these areas, support children and young people to be heard, and give them a trusted place to turn to.

We have over 40​0 staff across 10 locations, and programs in areas such as:

  • aquatics
  • health and fitness
  • sport and recreation
  • childrens services
  • inclusion services
  • youth services. 

We are a vibrant, active community organisation seeking to make a positive difference by providing over 2 million participants each year the opportunity to be healthy, happy and connected.