A supported accommodation centre for homeless young people in Norfolk has celebrated its 16th birthday.

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This month, Winston Court in North Walsham, is celebrating 16 years of providing homeless young people from across the county, and beyond, with a safe place to live and help in planning independent, fulfilled futures.

The supported accommodation centre, one of the first services set up by Norfolk charity The Benjamin Foundation, aims to provide hope, opportunity, stability and independence for vulnerable 16 to 25 year olds.

Wayne Miles, manager at Winston Court, said: “I’ve worked at Winston Court since it opened in 1997, and to date we have helped over 300 young people get their lives back on track.

“We now accommodate 15 young people at a time, twice our initial capacity, within nine single accommodation rooms and six semi-independent ‘move on’ flats.

“The centre is a warm and welcoming place, staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round, by a dedicated team of support workers who help residents to address any particular issues they may have.

“We are really proud that all of our residents are currently studying, training or in employment; a testament to the nurturing environment we strive to achieve and maintain.”

He said some of his personal highlights in the last 16 years included working with young people who were at a transitional stage in their lives.

He added: “Over the years I am proud to have been chosen as Godparent to five young children of former residents, plus staff and I have attended a couple of weddings of former residents.

“One former resident is now a senior support worker himself and another was on national television recently commenting on current affairs. Every day is different and every resident is a unique individual.”

For more information about Winston Court and other services provided by The Benjamin Foundation, call 01692 500999 or visit www.benjaminfoundation.co.uk.

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