Happy birthday Nansa! Norfolk Charity supporting vulnerable people with disabilities is sixty years young
06:30 06 August 2014
A charity celebrating sixty years of serving people in the county with disabilities is looking to the past to help secure its future.
Nansa has provided support, education and services across Norfolk since it was launched by parents of children with cerebral palsy.
And while much has changed since then, the charity is bringing back its old fundraising techniques as part of their diamond anniversary celebrations.
Nathalie Marshall, fundraising manager, said: “It the late 1950’s we fundraised to build a new centre to provide an employment training environment for young people with a range of disabilities.
“That centre has evolved into a support, education and training centre for youth and adults aged 11 plus and we now have a family centre for pre-school children, two employment training sites and seven charity shops.
“We have a 50-year lease on the centre which we’re only half-way through, but it does need updating.”
In the 1960s, the charity urged people to pile up their pennies before knocking them over to donate to Nansa.
Now, fundraisers are hoping to relaunch the Pile of Pennies campaign in a nod to the charity’s long history.
Christine Fulcher started going to the centre on Bowthorpe Road 40 years ago aged 16. Today, she is a Nansa trustee.
She said: “In 40 years the biggest change I think is we are being given a lot more choice in what we want to do, it’s user-led now.
“When I started it was really just contracted work we were doing for different companies. We had a big production line.
“Now, we’re given so much choice.”
During the summer, people at the centre can choose what activities they want to do, which all have a focus on practical life skills.
Nathalie said: “Everything that we do, the aim is for independence and inclusion in society.
“But it’s also about the social side. too.
“And every single person has a folder of evidence to show how they have come through their journey.
“Everyone has a goal, and we’re here to help them get to that goal, whether its learning to make your own food or running reception.”
The centre also runs IT sessions focussing on areas such as how to buy things on Ebay, or how to do your grocery shopping online.
There’s even a computer which can be operated by eye movement alone.
Nathalie said: “Everyone can use it and everyone can be involved.”
Nansa is hoping to buy more of these computers, as the 60th birthday rennovations will focus on making the centre more user-friendly.
The plans will also see Nansa spreading its wings to The Julian Hospital to take over a cafe in Hammerton Court.
The Wrap and Roll Cafe will be staffed by people with disabilities to give them employment training in customer service and catering skills.
It will be open to not only Nansa centre users, but also the general public and anyone visiting the hospital.
Nathalie said: “It will be a cafe for vulnerable people, run by vulnerable people.
“It’s a real safe haven.”
For more information about NANSA, or to find out about referrals, visit nansa.org.uk
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Stephen shares his journey
My name is Stephen Warnes and I’m 28 years old. I have been at NANSA for two years.
I really enjoy the different choices we have to learn about.
Since I have been at NANSA, I’ve learnt how to use the telephone with Jacqui and I work on reception.
I’m good at showing visitors around and have made my own visitor pamphlet.
I also do counting and sorting so I know where things go and in what order.
I hope to do a Gateway qualification next year and one day help to train new people and pass on skills.
The new training reception is a good idea so lots of people can learn skills at the same time.
I would like to try work experience at a Train and Trade project one day and am looking forward to being a NANSA Journalist soon.
Watch out for my column and our blogs on our new website nansa.org.uk.
It’s nice all my friends at NANSA will be able to have their say on our website.
Grand plans to celebrate 60 years
The Diamond Anniversary Building Development Project will bring the Bowthorpe Road centre up to date.
Nansa’s vision is to “create a dynamic and supportive centre of opportunity, ability and achievement for young people and adults with disabilities in Norfolk.”
To do this, the whole centre will be completely refurbished, which will also increase the number of people it can hold.
It will see the introduction of a fitness centre where people will be able to try yoga and dance as part of a planned keep fit programme.
The whole centre will also become more open-plan, with doorways taken out, as the current hallways are difficult for wheelchair users to access.
The centre’s current kitchen will also be updated to bring it up to industrial level.
This will allow Nansa to run catering programmes to supply the Wrap and Roll cafe across the road with food to sell.
Nathalie Marshall, Fundraising Manager, said: “We have almost reached full capacity, and technology and teaching mechanisms have moved on leaps and bounds since then.
“The work required to get the centre where we need it is on a grand scale for us.”