Bishop given keys to new central Norwich YMCA
By Keith Morris
2008: YMCA Norfolk
has received the keys to the new state-of-the-art £2.9m Norwich Central YMCA
, which will provide accommodation and assessment facilities for 34 young homeless men and, for the first time in Norwich, women.
The keys were received by YMCA Norfolk chair of patrons the Rt Revd Graham Smith, Bishop of Norwich, from the chairman of Flagship Housing Group, Rt Revd James Langstaff, the Bishop of Lynn, at a handover ceremony on December 8 at the new centre, at 10 Winnalls Court, All Saints Green, opposite Norwich Central Bus Station.
The doors of the facility, built by affordable housing specialist Lovell,
will open to residents for the first time on January 5, and will provide accommodation for young people aged between 16 – 25 years of both sexes who are homeless or who are threatened with homelessness and who have support needs.
Developed by Flagship Housing Group, the project has cost £2.87m and received £1.8m in grant funding from the Housing Corporation. Martin Aust, business growth director of Flagship Housing Group said, “This has been such an important project to provide a much needed service for young people. I am delighted that the multi-agency working partnership, to facilitate its completion, has been so successful. We hope all future residents will benefit from this exciting new facility.”
Bishop Graham said: “No organisation has kept in touch better with changing needs in changing times than YMCA Norfolk. This new accommodation will give dignity and honour to those who could easily despair. Under John Drake's leadership, the YMCA has been a beacon of hope in this city. It's an exemplary Christian organisation. May it long flourish.”
As an assessment centre, the accommodation is temporary with an intended stay for service users of no more that six months. The accommodation comprises 34 en-suite single bed-sitting rooms, training rooms, communal sitting rooms, staff rooms, offices, launderette, restaurant and training kitchen.
YMCA Norfolk chief executive officer John Drake, said: “Norwich Central YMCA will provide a safe and secure, supportive environment where residents needs can be assessed by experienced and skilled staff prior to an individual support plan being agreed and drafted.
“The centre will deliver housing related support, life skills support and resettlement and will prepare residents for independent living. The support also includes the identification and acquisition of more appropriate, longer-term sustainable accommodation for move-on.
“Our mission is to invest in the most vulnerable in our community. We realise the desperate need for accommodation for these young men and women at risk. I am delighted that, at long last, we can offer quality en-suite accommodation for both young men and women.”
“YMCA Norfolk is appreciative of all its development partners: Flagship Housing, the main contractor Lovell, Oxbury and Co, The Design partnership and the support received from Norfolk County Council, Supporting People, Norwich City Council, Broadland District Council, South Norfolk District Council and local businesses, trusts and individuals who have contributed in helping us meet the challenging financial costs.”
“As a local company, we are pleased to have been associated with this important project,” said Simon Medler
, Lovell regional director. “The new building hosts modern facilities which will create a safe and comfortable environment. The YMCA provides an essential service to young people in our community and we wish them continued success.”
To see John Drake giving a video tour of the new building to the Evening News, click here
Pictured above is the new Norwich Central YMCA and scenes from the key handover presentation on December 8.