history

The Bridge is the working name for our charity, the YWCA Central Club.

The Charity that you know and see today was incorporated on 30 July 1998, replacing a similar charity of the same name. The Charity of today continues to develop to meet the changing needs of women in London.

"A view of the new coffee shop - opened August 1988"

"A view of the new coffee shop - opened August 1988"


the 'old' charity to today

The Charity was initially set up to fill a growing need after the WW1, a time when many young women were moving to London to find work. It provided a safe space where women living in, moving to or visiting London could meet – as well as a space to support their intellectual, spiritual, physical, social and ‘moral’ needs.

The ‘old’ Charity provided accommodation, a café, a gym and swimming pool to the local community – a similar set up to The Bridge of today. 

A partnership back in 1933 with The City Lit pioneered the first of many educational programmes run by the YWCA Central Club, starting with classes for unemployed women, and later branching out into programmes for music, cookery and languages. 

Today all of our programmes have a focus on health, fitness or wellbeing, which are still in line with those very first programmes we ran in 1933!

The Charity’s Christian roots have always advocated a connection between people of all backgrounds and beliefs. Today, we follow a more modern context of spiritual support, which is ‘respect for self and others’ and general ‘well-being’, whatever that may mean for the individual – from relaxation, meditation and yoga classes to spaces for young Muslim women to pray. 

We continue to build on the Charity’s strong past tradition of partnership work, promoting women’s health, fitness and wellbeing and delivering innovative activities and programmes. 

"YWCA January 1942 Blue Dining Rooms with bunks ready for service girls"

"YWCA January 1942 Blue Dining Rooms with bunks ready for service girls"

"Central Club - Tea on Terrace" 1930s

"Central Club - Tea on Terrace" 1930s