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YMCA Selling Their Landmark Building in Bridge Street

Published on: 21 Jun, 2022
Updated on: 24 Jun, 2022

YMCA has been established at The Bridge building since 1989

YMCA are selling their landmark building The Bridge, on Bridge Street, to concentrate on providing services for young people at risk rather than the provision of student accommodation.

The building, near the railway station, is being sold by YMCA DownsLink Group to M F Stawson Limited. The new owners say The Bridge will continue to provide high-quality accommodation for students in the Guildford and will be operated day to day by Homes for Students (HfS), one of the UK’s established providers of student accommodation. Staff will be transferring to HfS.

YMCA DownsLink Group had been operating the building as student accommodation since 2016. Subsequently, it moved its provision for young people facing homelessness to a purpose-built 34-room ‘Foyer’ in Wharf Road which opened in December 2017. YMCA DownsLink Group will continue to provide 24-hour supported accommodation to young people in the town at Guildford Foyer.

A spokesperson for the YMCA DownsLink Group said: “The decision to sell The Bridge is part of our long-term strategy to refocus on our core mission of providing services for young people at risk. The charity’s board decided that as student accommodation is increasingly a specialist service, it would be better suited to a dedicated student housing provider. Proceeds from the sale of the building will be reinvested into the charity’s core mission.”

The YMCA said it is proud of its history in Guildford. The building on Bridge Street opened in 1989 as a YMCA Hostel. In 2014 with the merger of Guildford YMCA and Central Sussex YMCA, YMCA Downslink Group was created.

The charity now operates across Sussex and Surrey and provides over 750 young people with a safe place to live, and a pathway to independence, every night.

Since 2017 the purpose-built supported accommodation at Wharf Rd has provided support to over 200 young people.

Speaking about the sale, Chas Walker CEO of YMCA DownsLink Group said: “We’re delighted to have found a dedicated student accommodation provider to take on The Bridge as the student numbers continue to increase in the town. This decision means we will be able to focus solely on our core mission to provide support to marginalised young people who need support with their mental health or housing.”

Homes for Students chief operating officer Kate Forester added: ‘We will continue to offer high-quality homes away from home for hundreds of students for many years to come.

“Our experienced teams, and the great on-site facilities help make this transition as easy as possible and provide the very best student experience.

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Responses to YMCA Selling Their Landmark Building in Bridge Street

  1. Peta Malthouse Reply

    June 22, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    Another central Guildford property slips into the hands of those who provide student accommodation.

    When are we going to start helping our key workers and other residents of Guildford?

    Obviously, I am pleased that the work of the YMCA goes on but there ought to be enough land owned by the University of Surrey to house its students, not place ever more pressure on the housing needs of the residents of Guildford.

    Student accommodation doesn’t attract council tax, so there is not even any contribution to the costs of running the town and its services.

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