THE DARTFORD YMCA
The YMCA was based at East Hill until December 1928 when it transferred to the Martyr's Memorial Hall, West Hill. The building was dedicated by the bishop of Rochester in January 1929. On 3 December 1930 HRH Princess Helena Victoria opened the new extension which had been added to the building. It was declared at the time that "The YMCA gives young people the opportunity of acquiring something of the public school education and spirit instead of picking up their education at the College of the Street Corner'.
The YMCA building on West Hill was opened in 1971. This building provided a wide range of sporting and other community-based facilities for the benefit of the young people of Dartford. A branch of the YWCA was started in Dartford in 1917. Girls met at the Conybeare Club in Dartford. Few clubs possessed such fine premises. Activities included Keep Fit classes, a country dance club, visits to factories in the local area and sporting activities.
November 1999 saw the opening of Dartford YMCA's new Foyer project by
the Duke of Kent. This building in Overy Street contains 42 self-contained
bedsits and a range of services to help the growing number of homeless
people in the area. In 1999 there were an estimated 800 homeless people
under 25 living in the Boroughs of Dartford and Gravesham. The complex
also houses the Foyer Learning Shop which is run by North West Kent College
to offer people a range of training programmes.