The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

YMCA helps make Barry's dreams come true

BarryMoore450Teenager Barry John Moore has two dreams – one is to get a fantasy novel published and the second is to join the Royal Marines. And with a little help from YMCA Norfolk, he is well on the way to achieving both.

Barry did not have a happy start to life and at the age of seven was put into foster care with his three sisters after his mother was sent to prison and his father, who was looking after the children, became too ill to look after them. He died when Barry was nine.

Barry first came into contact with YMCA Norfolk at the age of 17 when he left his foster home and went into Supported Lodgings. He did not settle and after five months jumped at the chance to have his own flat in the My Place development.

An independent and self-motivated individual, Barry found that the support and encouragement offered by the My Place team was just the thing he needed to really start achieving his dreams.

“They helped me get onto a Prince’s Trust course in which I gained a First Aid certificate and got two weeks’ of work experience with a outdoor pursuits company. They also helped me to write a CV and with job searches and have helped me big time with my application to join the Royal Marines,” he said.

Barry has dreamt of becoming a Royal Marine since he was ten years old, about the same time that he started going to Oak Grove Chapel in Norwich.

“Faith-wise things started to click for me at the age of 14 when I went to the Newday Christian festival which gave me more insight,” said Barry. “At the age of 16 I went forward at another Newday event and took a decision to become a Christian. Now I am thinking of getting baptised.

“One morning at Oak Grove, a couple of African war refugees came in to talk to us about their experiences and they told us how the British Army had been able to help them in their home country when they had problems after being open about their Christian faith. I liked the thought that in the Forces I could go overseas and be in a position to help people like them, maybe with aid or building projects.”

Barry has passed several stages of the intensive Marine application procedure and hopes to start a 32-week basic training course at Lympstone in Devon in the near future.

“In the Marines I could be sent almost anywhere in the world and learn how to climb, ski, boulder, parachute, canoe, cave diving, bungee jump, box and sail. The Marines is like all my hobbies combined into one job,” he said.
“I do loads of fitness training and a mixed martial arts group, arranged through the YMCA, is also helping me,” said Barry. “We even do a bit of boxing training in the courtyard at My Place.”

If there is one thing that Barry is even more enthusiastic about than joining the Marines, it is the series of four fantasy novels that he is currently writing. When he starts to talk about them his eyes just light up and he gets carried away into a different universe.

“The My Place team are helping me with my writing, Sue has helped proof read it and correct the grammar,” said Barry. “I have talked about it to a couple of publishers who are interested. The books are based in a fantasy world with characters which I have created. I have even written a special new language which is used in them. They cover a lot of themes - good versus evil, the end of the world, mental illness and alcoholism – there is a bit about my own life in there somewhere,” said Barry.

“My Place is friendly and there are a lot of people I can chat to. I have made quite a few friends and there is a good atmosphere. Providing access to the internet helps with job applications such as the Marines and the staff have also helped me with sorting out benefits and taxes and dealings with the City Council.”

One thing that is particularly special for Barry is the creation of a faith room where people can go and talk about things together. “Reading the Bible is important to me and there are a couple of Christian staff who I can talk to about God if I want to, which is pretty cool.”

Pictured above is Barry Moore in his flat at My Place in Norwich.

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