Lottery project will trace history of Norfolk YMCA

The YMCA at 48 St Giles Street in Norwich, adorned with huge gold lettering, c1930. Pic: Submitted.

The YMCA at 48 St Giles Street in Norwich, adorned with huge gold lettering, c1930. Pic: Submitted. - Credit: Submitted

It has been an important city fixture for decades.

Now a project to bring to life the history of the YMCA in Norfolk is to be put together - by the very people the charity helps.

Funded by a grant of just over £47,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Y-Heritage project will focus on researching, capturing and sharing the history of the organisation, which celebrates its 160th anniversary this year.

The project will be shaped and led by young people in or using YMCA's services and will form the basis of an exhibition exploring the wider social history of the organisation within Norfolk.

The funding will help pay for project co-ordinator who will support the young people in researching, compiling and displaying the exhibition to be hosted by Norwich Museum Services and other sites across the county.

It will cover the YMCA's origins in providing moral activities for young men through to varied responses to emergencies and relief work such as the Great Flood of 1912.

Also included will be support during both World Wars through to those that were turning points for the YMCA from providing traditional hostel accommodation to its current work supporting some of the most vulnerable young people in the county.

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Oral histories will be captured from those who have been involved with or impacted by the work of YMCA Norfolk, ranging from war memories, summer camps, schools work and sporting activities to housing and homelessness and all will be invited to be involved in the project.

Tim Sweeting, chief executive of YMCA Norfolk, said: 'This project will enable us to properly secure an archive and provide resources and an exhibition that can be passed on for future generations creating a lasting legacy that will remember the past, celebrate today and reflect the future.'

Would you like to share how you have been helped by the YMCA? Write to Letters Editor, Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or you can send an email to