YMCA residents move into new modular homes

14 September 2021

YMCA Thames Gateway Group, covering Essex, Kent and London, has officially opened its innovative new housing development, solving an affordable move-on accommodation problem its residents have long faced.

Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), with engineering and manufacturing off-site by AECOM, the affordable accommodation scheme, located behind the YMCA in Rush Green Road, Romford, is a huge step forward for the organisation.

Park View comprises 39 modular residential units, allowing the YMCA to provide high-quality, affordable housing for single people who are moving on from the main hostel - also located on-site - and becoming independent.

The units were all constructed off-site in Derbyshire before being transported to Essex. Installation of the three-storey building started in July 2020, following months of preparation, and the last home was lifted into place in January 2021.

Dave Ball, Chief Executive of YMCA Thames Gateway Group, said: “This innovative method of construction presents a new way of creating affordable, aspirational housing for those wanting to take their next step towards independent living. Having the right team in place to manage the project was vital to its success. In the London Borough of Havering, we have long struggled with reasonably priced accommodation for our residents who are ready to leave the hostel, and with this new development, built on our existing land, we have made huge headway with this.

Ivan Harbour, Senior Design Partner, RSHP, said: “Park View offers compact, self-contained homes within a small community. Generous, high quality, spaces with exceptional insulation, daylight and acoustics have been achieved through the use of rapid and cost-effective volumetric technology, a more sustainable and equitable approach to house building that we will be seeing much more of in the future.”

Andrew Partridge, Associate Partner, RSHP said: “It’s wonderful working with YMCA again. They understand their clients so well. Park View is a great initiative in independent living accommodation. Delivered using off-site technology, the scheme is well designed, energy-efficient and offers spacious homes.”

Paul Oshodin, resident, 27, is one of the first tenants to move into Park View. Born in Nigeria, Paul came to the UK with his aunt when he was 11, after the sudden death of his mother. After a turbulent five years, he found himself alone in the UK aged just 16. In 2017, Paul was offered housing in YMCA Romford and has been working to move his life forward since then.

Paul said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect but the YMCA gave me stability, which was invaluable for me – having a roof over my head has made all the difference. If I hadn’t found the YMCA I don’t know where I would be, genuinely. It changed my life - I'm not even trying to be cliché – it really did. Moving into Park View has given me another push – I don’t want to take anything away from my room in the hostel but this is different. I have my own kitchen, I can cook for myself, I can be with other people if I choose to be but can spend time on my own.

Watch our recent film recorded at Park View to find out how Paul and his neighbours are settling into their new homes.

For more information on the Park View design or to arrange an interview with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, please contact Vicki Macgregor on 020 7746 0415, 07825 602738 or at