Director of Norwich charity stands down after a decade

The director of a Norwich-based charity which helps people with drugs and alcohol problems has stood down after more than 10 years.

Julian Bryant, pictured, who first joined the Matthew Project a decade ago and left last week, is set to use half of his time to work on a community project in Taverham. Open Table, a project set up by Mr Bryant and his wife Barbara, who both live in Taverham, is designed to enable people of any age to engage with the community.

It was set up to meet the needs of people in the village and it is hoped it could become a model for other areas.

Mr Bryant, who has also become the area coordinator for Christian Aid, said: 'The Matthew Project has been such a great place to work. It is driven by the values and passion of the people there who want to make a difference,

'Over the last 10 years we have seen our youth work service grow from two workers based in Norwich to over 35 covering Norfolk and Suffolk. We have seen our adult work grow from about nine workers based in Norwich to over 20 workers based in Norwich, north Norfolk and Thetford as well as providing outreach across Norfolk.

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'It has been an amazing time of growth, not just in size, but in the difference we see in the lives of young people and adults. I am sad to be leaving but am excited to be meeting new challenges and making a difference in a new way.'

Mr Bryant was first inspired to set up the Open Table project after a visit to Cambodia where he fell ill and the community rallied around to support him. As part of the initiative, people are invited to share a community meal and the project is led by the people who want to talk and get involved.

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'There are a lot of people in Taverham who need a listening ear,' said Mr Bryant. 'The youth service has been decimated, children's services have faced cuts in funding and there are a whole variety of adults and young people who need support.'

For more information about Open Table, email Mr and Mrs Bryant at Have you got a Taverham story for the Evening News? Call reporter Kate Scotter on email

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