Live BBC Radio 4 show helps YMCA celebrate
Prestigious BBC Radio 4 programme Any Questions was broadcast live from the John Innes Centre in Norwich on Friday night (October 26) to help mark the 150th anniversary of YMCA Norfolk.
Fronted by presenter for the last 20 years, Jonathan Dimbleby, the panel comprised Barbara Follett, Minister for the East of England and Parliamentary Undersecretary for the Department for Work and Pensions, Jonathan Porritt, chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, David Willetts, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills and Patience Wheatcroft, former editor of the Sunday Telegraph.
The popular radio show, which has 2 million listeners, was invited to Norwich by YMCA Norfolk chief executive John Drake to help celebrate the charity’s work in the county since 1856.
The event was backed by Norwich solicitors Mills & Reeve with an audience of 300. They heard the panel tackle questions on the possible review of the 40-year-old Abortion Act, foreign policy in the Middle East, climate change and smacking of children.
On climate change, Jonathan Porritt said: “The reality is not painful or present enough in our lives to make us change the way we live. How many more warnings do we need to really change the way we live. There is no techno-fix which is suddenly going to solve all this.”
On abortion, David Willetts said: “David Steel, who created the Act, himself said that the Act should be reviewed. We have a catastrophic rate of teenage pregnancy in this country.” Patience Wheatcroft added: “Abortion is being used as a means of contraception. One in four pregnancies ends in abortion. Barbara Follett said: “We need better contraceptive advice, especially among young men. We also need to look at providing better advice on relationships.”
The nationwide audience were told, by Jonathan Dimbleby, that YMCA Norfolk provides 90 rooms and 63,000 meals a year and it has big plans to meet the growing demand for its services. Notably by replacing its old hostel on St Giles by a new 34-bed hostel to be built next to Norwich Bus Station, and a second provision of 40 new self-contained units close to the city centre.
Pictured above is the Radio 4 Any Questions panel in Norwich.