YMCA launches new partnership in Breckland
By Keith Morris
A breakfast event hosted by Breckland Council
today (February 23) celebrated the launch of YMCA Norfolk’s
work in Breckland. The YMCA team will be moving into offices in Tanner Street, Thetford
The launch marked the work Breckland Council and YMCA Norfolk are doing with vulnerable young people locally and will lead the way towards a growing and strengthening partnership in the future.
Paul Claussen, Executive member for Economic and Housing said; “YMCA Norfolk is an organisation with a long and proud history of work with deprived young people right across the UK. Long established in Norfolk, we are very pleased to welcome them to Breckland.”
YMCA Norfolk chief executive, John Drake, said: “We have a growing team of over 100 working in partnership with local authorities, statutory, private and public sectors across Norfolk to help young people in need. YMCA Norfolk has extensive experience in emergency housing schemes, short, mid and long term support for those young people who experience family breakdown and in some cases societal exclusion.
“Together with Breckland Council we will help meet the challenges facing local young people and their families, from primary through to further education, employment and training. For many years I have had a heart for Breckland and look forward to seeing the fruits of the seeds YMCA Norfolk workers are already sowing there.”
Breckland Council has been working with YMCA for several years but recently the partnership has been strengthened by a number of joint initiatives. The Council has provided £25,000 of funding to support a new scheme. The Nightstop scheme aims to provide up to three nights’ emergency accommodation in volunteers’ homes for young people between the ages of 16 and 24.
This innovative service is provided through the goodwill of the community to keep young people safe and off the streets. Free to the young person, the scheme includes a mediation service if desired, transport to the volunteers’ home, an evening meal, and bed for the night in a private room and breakfast in the morning.
Paul continued; “We are particularly concerned for those aged 16 and 17 years who are officially still children and who therefore need a particular type of intervention and support. Our partnership working helps to drive improvements to our services and has wider benefits including the exchange of cultures, ways of working and opportunities for further joint work.”
YMCA are also introducing a Supported Lodgings scheme to provide longer term accommodation for young homeless people. The scheme offers support to vulnerable young people who are either leaving care or have been subject to a family breakdown.
People from all walks of life and cultures who are prepared to offer support and guidance to youngsters in situations such as this are paid to provide the support to enable the young people to learn to live independently and ease the transition to adulthood. The YMCA is recruiting households for this purpose and has had a great deal of interest so if you can offer a vulnerable young person a home they want to hear from you. Contact Susie Knights at firstname.lastname@example.org
YMCA Norfolk already operates in Breckland including working with students at Charles Burrell High and Rosemary Musker High. It also runs the Cloverfields youth group in Thetford which regularly attracts 20 – 40 young people aged 11- 16 each week and is engaged in community involvement, confidence building, raising self esteem and fund raising.
Pictured above are YMCA Norfolk chief executive John Drake (left) and Breckland Council executive member for housing, Paul Claussen, at the launch.