YMCA's £4.2m Norwich flats plan boosted
2009: YMCA Norfolk’s plan to build 40 self-contained flats for young homeless people in Norwich city centre has taken a major step forward with the granting of £2.25m from the Homes and Communities Agency.
In July, the YMCA Norfolk Board gave the go-ahead to explore the £4.2m plan to redevelop the rear part of the current YMCA accommodation on St Giles Street in Norwich and build 40 self-contained flats for young homeless people in its place.
The development would see part of the current buildings on the Bethel Street
side demolished, leaving the frontage on St Giles intact. The new facility would provide move-on accommodation to help prepare young people for independent living.
Martin Aust, Business Growth Director of Flagship Housing Group, who secured the funding for the YMCA, said, “We are delighted with the success of the grant application. This is such an important project to provide a much needed service for vulnerable young people. The funding will enable the multi-agency working partnership to develop more much needed accommodation for the YMCA.”
It follows the opening of the Central YMCA near Norwich bus station in January, which provides self-contained accommodation for up to 34 young men and women.
YMCA Norfolk CEO, Tim Sweeting (pictured above), said: “Norwich Central YMCA has now been open for ten months and continues to be full and accessed by many vulnerable and homeless young people. Likewise our hostel on St Giles Street also continues to be full, which demonstrates the constant and ongoing need for housing and support within our city.
“This new supported accommodation will be provided to both men and women who are looking to become self-supporting and will be the last step on their journey before moving on to independent living.”
“We are seeing an increase in the numbers requiring our services and we are committed to doing everything we can to help young people when they need it most. This housing will provide young people with crucial move-on accommodation from our Central YMCA facility and allow us to help a much great number of young people.”
Each self-contained flat will have a living room/bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom.
There will be shared communal facilities such as a lounge, and somewhere to provide training in life skills such as cooking and IT. The YMCA will also provide support staff who can give advice and guidance to encourage young people into work and training.
“Young people will be given a place first at the Central YMCA where they can be assessed. Those who show they are committed to developing themselves and moving forward will be offered the opportunity to live in one of the flats on Bethel Street, for a maximum of two years,” said Tim.
The total cost of the Bethel Street project will be £4.2m and is subject to planning permission and additional fundraising.
Plans should be submitted to the City Council planning department by the end of November 2009 with a target completion date of the end of 2011.
Pictured above is an architect’s drawing of the Bethel Street flats proposal.