The Gatehouse of Fleet YMCA was founded in 1997 when it was accepted as a full member of the National YMCA Scotland. Although an autonomous association, the Gatehouse YMCA complies with the quality assurance standards of YMCA Scotland. In addition, in order to comply with National Lottery conditions, Gatehouse of Fleet YMCA was set up in early 2001 as a company limited by guarantee and registered as a charity.
Initially, the Gatehouse YMCA began operating in 1996 as a youth club holding its weekly sessions in the annex to the Murray Arms Hotel in Gatehouse. In1997 came the opportunity to purchase and develop a derelict workshop in Digby Street in Gatehouse. At the time the Management Committee of the Youth Club had no funds and applied to YMCA Scotland for a loan of £20,000 to enable it to pursue this opportunity, which was generously granted. With the help of a grant of £179,591 from the National Lottery the site was purchased.
After the purchase there were no funds available to refurbish the building, so the members of the Youth Club set about painting building, acquiring tables, introducing electricity and applying for further Lottery funding. At the third attempt funding was obtained and the building was refurbished and developed into a safe and comfortable place for the young people of the Town and surrounding villages to meet regularly. The building was fitted with state of the art equipment for the young people to use and officially opened by Sir Norman Arthur, then HM Lord Lieutenant of Kirkcudbright, as the ‘Drop-In Centre’ on 17th June 2002.
The ongoing funding of the Drop-In, as it is known locally, is provided by a mixture of Local Authority and Charitable grants, sponsorship by local businesses, general fundraising activities of local members and supporters, and by the proceeds of running a charity shop known simply as ‘The Charity Shop’.
In 2006 a great honour was bestowed upon Gatehouse of Fleet YMCA Limited as Her Majesty the Queen recognised the work of the Drop-In with the ‘Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service’ which was conferred by Sir Malcolm Ross, HM Lord-Lieutenant of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. Today, as then, the organisation has over 60 regular volunteers who are committed to the ongoing work and continuing success of the Drop-In.