As an organisation one of our key values is sustainability. We have established several social enterprises that will ensure a sustainable future for YMCA Newcastle and our work with young people.

Local youth unemployment in Newcastle varies between 20-25%, add to this a huge student population of over 50,000 people and it leads to a very competitive environment for young job seekers. Through our social enterprises we provide real opportunities with access to training and education with the provision of volunteering opportunities and apprenticeships.

Urban Mushrooms is YMCA Newcastle's newest social enterprise. All profits made by Urban Mushrooms are reinvested into the work we do with young people. Urban Mushrooms consists of farming mushrooms in unused urban spaces in the city centre. We grow our mushrooms using used coffee grounds that are collected from coffee shops around the city.

The Urban Mushrooms idea was born when our CEO Jeff met “Mushroom Mike” at the annual celebration of The Skill Mill, which helps young offenders gain meaningful employment. Mike said, “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to create jobs for young people and grow the mushrooms I need locally for my products?” Jeff was hooked on the idea and said “Lets make it happen!”

We currently drink around 55 million cups of coffee per day in the UK, with over 500,000 tonnes of coffee grounds making it to our landfill every year, costing the tax payer over £50 million a year. Working in partnerships with local coffee shops we collect their used coffee grounds, helping them reduce their waste. We then use their coffee grounds to grow our mushrooms.

Please contact us if you would like to become a coffee partner, with recognition that your waste can create jobs.

If you would like to buy our high quality environmentally friendly oyster mushrooms please contact urban.mushrooms@ymcanewcastle.com