Healthy Minds and Active Bodies: the promotion of health and wellbeing by UK youth movements


  • University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Project summary

This 24-month project focuses on cataloguing and preserving the archives of two influential youth movements:

The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)

The Youth Hostels Association (YHA)

Both archives are held at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham.

Health and welfare of young people are guiding principles of these charities. Since their creation, both organisations have focused their activities on improving the mental and physical health of young people, with emphasis on working with those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The YMCA archive comprises 978 boxes and the YHA archive comprises 405 boxes; all of which require detailed cataloguing in order to realise their full research potential. Both collections include minutes, reports, publications, photographs and ephemera. Material documents the work of both charities in improving young people’s physical health, mental wellbeing, and general fitness.

The outcome of this project will be two fully searchable electronic catalogues which will enable access and reveal the full research potential of these internationally significant collections.

Engagement activities with academics, researchers, students and members of the public will ensure that the collections are visible across a broad range of audiences.