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New community cafe in Norwich to help transform lives of young homeless people in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 15:34 04 September 2012

Lord Mayor of Norwich Ralph Gayton marking the official launch of the Stepping Stones Cafe at the Central Norwich YMCA opposite Norwich Bus Station. The cafe is the result of an innovative social enterprise partnership between YMCA Norfolk and local businesses, in which young homeless people have played a vital role. Photo: Steve Adams

Lord Mayor of Norwich Ralph Gayton marking the official launch of the Stepping Stones Cafe at the Central Norwich YMCA opposite Norwich Bus Station. The cafe is the result of an innovative social enterprise partnership between YMCA Norfolk and local businesses, in which young homeless people have played a vital role. Photo: Steve Adams

Young homeless people are being given a stepping stone towards their future lives as part of a charity’s new venture.

The Stepping Stone Cafe is a social enterprise partnership between YMCA Norfolk and local businesses.

More than 20 young people staying at the YMCA have been involved in the project, carrying out market research, designing the cafe style, producing marketing materials and developing a website.

The cafe, based at Central Norwich YMCA, opposite Norwich Bus Station, is aimed at giving the young people life-long skills and experience, leading to employment.

It was opened by the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Ralph Gayton, today.

YMCA Norfolk chief executive Tim Sweeting said: “We believe that everyone has potential and this cafe is about releasing that potential in young people. It is an opportunity for young people to get some experience and qualifications so they can go out into the world and secure employment; it is a stepping stone for them to be able to do that.”

The cafe is open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday, serving hot and cold drinks, hot meals, paninis, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, daily specials and other light refreshments.

Profits from the cafe will raise funds for YMCA Norfolk and its work with young homeless people.

Stan Hawkings, 19, who is living at the YMCA MyPlace development in Bethel Street and has NVQ levels 1 and 2 in catering, is working four days a week at the cafe as a chef.

He said: “It’s a really big help because it’s going to help me get a job in the future and I will be able to bring my skills back up to the standard they should be.”

The project has been supported by Norfolk Hoteliers Association, Business in the Community, City College Norwich, marketing consultants Shorthose Russell and digital agency Soak Digital.

Are you helping young people to transform their lives? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.

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