KNOWLEDGE SHARE

The YMCA Liverpool & Sefton

Luke Foster

Oculus has been providing procurement services to YMCA Liverpool & Sefton since August of this year. We were approached by the charity as they required procurement support to review several areas within their supply chain. YMCA did not believe they were receiving the optimum service or value from these areas but did not have access to an experienced procurement resource to tackle the issues.

The YMCA is the oldest and largest youth charity in the world. In England and Wales alone, the charity supports 228,000 young people every year, focussing on 5 main areas, Support & Advice, Accommodation, Family Work, Health & Wellbeing and Training and Education.

Each YMCA is an autonomous charity making decisions based on the needs of the communities they work in. YMCA Liverpool and Sefton have been delivering services to vulnerable people for over 170 years. The need for good procurement practices within charitable organisations is obvious. There is an obligation to those who support the charity, through their donations, to ensure their funds are put to best use, but most importantly to those they serve, ensuring they can reach out as wide as possible and guarantee the best care and support is made available.

Chief Executive Ellie McNeil reiterated the importance of good procurement practices within YMCA, saying;

“As a charity we have to ensure every penny we spend gets the maximum value for money to deliver much needed services across the communities we work in. We wanted to ensure this was the case. By engaging with Oculus to help us review several areas of spend within our supply base, we are ensuring not only that we are receiving competitive pricing but also a top-quality service from our suppliers. Oculus have been a procurement partner that we have been able to trust to work in our best interests, use plain speak, help us to understand our requirements and support us to procure excellent supplies. We can have confidence that we can offer the highest level of service possible at the best value to our funders and supporters”

Ellie McNeil, Chief Executive, YMCA Liverpool & Sefton


The areas we are initially supporting with include IT support, Buildings Repair & Maintenance and E-Learning. We hope through assisting with these reviews we can provide improved value for money and ensure the staff and volunteers at the YMCA have the tools and support they need to undertake their roles and responsibilities, maximising the output from the charity’s services.

“Over the last 3 years, Oculus has earned its reputation for being a partner to our clients in the truest sense, leading them through complex periods of procurement activity. The YMCA Liverpool joins this group of organisations – a group which we are immensely proud to call ‘our clients’ – however from a more personal perspective, this engagement has provided me with a humbling insight into the incredible and progressive work that they YMCA Liverpool do, delivering the most vital of services to some of the most vulnerable individuals within our communities.”

Matthew Hardaker, Director, Oculus Procurement 


If you are interested in supporting the charity through donation, corporate partnerships or volunteer work, you can find more information on the YMCA Liverpool website https://liverpoolymca.org.uk/support-us/.

It’s clear the benefit skilled and experience procurement support can bring to a charity through effective purchasing practices. But it’s also clear that budget constraints often prohibit access to such resource. At Oculus we understand this, and we are completely open to discussing how we can assist charitable organisations and work within your budget constraints to provide high quality, cost-effective procurement support.

ABOUT THE Author:

Luke Foster

Luke Foster

Having graduated in Procurement and Supply Chain Management from Liverpool John Moore’s University in 2012, Luke commenced his career as a Graduate Procurement Manager at one of the UK’s largest third-party logistics organisations, before moving into financial services and then founding Oculus in 2017. Luke’s roles have all been within centre-led procurement functions leading significant, business-wide procurement transformations, gaining significant experience of the design and implementation of procurement policy.

As one of the founders of Oculus, Luke has worked with clients from a variety of industry sectors such as manufacturing, insurance, financial & professional services, and retail.  With experience across a wide array of spend categories, primarily focusing on HR, facilities, and professional services.

Luke’s key specialism is in spend data analytics and cost modelling. Offering the ability to unravel vast quantities of data to build simple yet effective reports providing the insight required to support a drive for change. Through effective Power BI dashboards, Luke is able to offer a level of insight, previously unavailable, to support the identification of areas of focus within an organisations spend profile.