£1m project launched in Great Yarmouth to help the young and homeless

PUBLISHED: 14:09 09 April 2014 | UPDATED: 14:09 09 April 2014

YMCA launching a new project to tackle youth homelessness.
YMCA Life Ready Innovator Amanda Bayfield with the new logo and members of her youth team.

Picture: James Bass

YMCA launching a new project to tackle youth homelessness. YMCA Life Ready Innovator Amanda Bayfield with the new logo and members of her youth team. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

A unique £1m project is aiming to help break the cycle of youth homelessness and build aspiration and achievement in Great Yarmouth.

Life Ready is a five-year project to support young people towards independent living, and a four-strong team is already in place to deliver life skills and help them to develop themselves.

The project is targeted to reach at least 30 people in its first year, helping to bring stability to young people, many of whom have had a “shaky” start in life – but expects to link with many more. Led by of Amanda Bayfield, the team includes Life Ready Connectors Aimee Gedge, Joe Hoblyn and Heidi Garwood.

“Life Ready will provide young people with an opportunity to receive tailored support in order to help break the cycle of homelessness,” said Mrs Bayfield. “It will also reaffirm YMCA Norfolk’s commitment to transforming young lives and providing wrap-around support in addition to our existing homelessness services. It also helps us to recognise and address the range of complex issues that young people face alongside homelessness.

“It aims to prepare participants for independent living by enabling young people to move on with all the skills required to be fully independent. This will include life coaching, signposting to other specialist organisations, health and wellbeing activities and work preparation such as work experience and placements, gaining skills and qualifications, and assistance with job applications.”

“Most of the young people I have met know what they want to do and just need that help and support and someone to believe in them.”

Short courses, run as part of Life Ready, will include money skills, tenancy awareness, joy of food cookery skills, self-esteem, GOYA multi -sport project and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. A peer mentoring scheme is also being developed to assist young people starting Life Ready.

Tim Sweeting, chief executive of YMCA Norfolk, said the funding bid was unique to the area and would bring long-term benefits. It was reckoned every pound spent amounted to a saving of £6 to the public purse, he said, adding: “We house 55 young people and that is still scratching the surface. When people think about homelessness they tend to think about street homelessness, but it is about being insecurely housed. Sleeping on a sofa and going round friendship groups when family relationships have broken down is a common scenario. Young people tend to rely on the relationships they already have, and when they have exhausted them they come to us.”

The project is funded by the Big Lottery and, along with YMCA Norfolk, partners include Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Voluntary Norfolk, Great Yarmouth Sport and Leisure Trust and Norfolk Future Youth.

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