YMCA set to open new £2m community hub in Norwich
YMCA Norfolk is set to launch a £2m refurbished community hub based at Jubilee Hall on Aylsham Road in Norwich.
The newly refurbished centre will be open to the whole community to enjoy and will offer a range of services with a particular focus on families, including a day care nursery, café and soft play centre for 0-11 year olds.
The development will also see the YMCA move their offices to the site as part of a long-term commitment to the area. As a local charity, YMCA Norfolk says it will be investing money made from providing these services back into local community provision to reduce dependence on public funding that is becoming ever more scarce.
Tim Sweeting, YMCA Norfolk chief executive, said: “We are really excited to be announcing our plans to invest £2m in the future of this part of Norwich. This high-quality development offers a range of services that will enable us to bring local people together and develop more opportunities for them to fulfil their potential.
“As an organisation founded in Norfolk in 1856, we are committed to strengthening communities over the long-term and believe that the provision of education, employment, positive activities and leisure space will really make a difference.
The refurbishment cost is estimated at £2m. The Lind Trust have kindly donated the building and £500k towards the cost of the refurbishment work.
Norfolk County Council has awarded £200k to the project, in recognition of the huge community benefit that will be sustained over the many years of its operation. The funding was agreed in February 2018, as part of the council’s capital programme.
The YMCA will be undertaking a fundraising campaign to raise £800,000 towards the remaining costs.
Cllr John Fisher, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council said: “This investment will support the YMCA to bring this centre back into community use, providing nursery places and activities that families can enjoy together.
“It will also complement our new Early Childhood and Family Service, which aims to bring services for families with young children out into local community buildings.
“We’re making a capital grant available as part of that service, so we hope to be able to support the development of more small community led projects for families.”
Lord Dannatt, President of YMCA Norfolk said: “I am delighted that the YMCA has seized this opportunity to invest in the lives of people in the Aylsham Road area. With the support of the Lind Trust, Norfolk County Council and trusts, foundations and generous individuals I am sure we will be able to raise all the necessary money to complete this project next year. I much look forward to the re-opening in 2020.”
The Jubilee Centre was purchased in 2015 by the Lind Trust. It had previously been owned by the Royal British Legion. It has since sat dormant and has been targeted by thieves who have stolen lead from the roof and internal fittings and fixtures while vandals have forced their way into the empty property and caused further damage. The YMCA took responsibility for the building in November 2017 and have been working hard to develop a robust business plan that will see sustained delivery of local community services for many years to come.
Pictured above are architect's drawings of the new-look centre and its cafe.