Holt Youth Project future bolstered by new partnership with Ormiston Families charity

Holt Youth Project. Front, chairman Dick Copas and managing youth consultant Julie Alford with staff

Holt Youth Project. Front, chairman Dick Copas and managing youth consultant Julie Alford with staff, volunteers and group members.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The future of a thriving youth project which started life in a living room looks set to be secured through a charitable partnership.

Holt Youth Project will working with East Anglian-based young people's charity Ormiston Families, which will fund staff wages from September 1 after an agreement is signed.

It comes as a five-year £388,700 Big Lottery Young People's Fund, which paid for five members of staff, runs out this December.

Trustees behind the project on Old Station Way, which works with 300 young people and their families in north Norfolk, said the move would not affect current activities but would build on the project's work.

Julie Alford, project manager and youth consultant, said: 'We will still be doing what we normally do. Nothing will change.

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'Ormiston will bring along other professionals and enhance what we are doing.'

The project was a 'long way from being a shed in a field' - which had been the plan years ago - and the latest move secured its future.

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'We are very much a can-do organisation. Whatever the need that comes to our door we will evolve and equip ourselves to meet that need,' she added.

Mrs Alford was thrilled and delighted about the partnership which would leave the youth project in good hands for the 'foreseeable future' and allow it to grow.

The 59-year-old, and husband David, from Coronation Road, Holt, started a youth club for 45 members in her house almost 30 years ago.

After community fundraising from 1996 the current project base was built and opened in 2004.

The project has 25 adult volunteers and last year won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Holt Youth Project looks after people aged five to 25 and supports 38 young carers as well as running after school social hubs and the Achieving, Confidence and Training (ACT) programme,

which helps people aged between 14-25 learn numeracy, IT and practical life skills.

'If we can nurture young people, that is a really important thing,' Mrs Alford added.

She said Ormiston had the same ethos and heart as the youth project.

It is hoped the partnership will allow the project to enhance its 'out and about' scheme which allows teenagers to experience different working industries.

Dick Copas, project chairman and treasurer, said: 'The community supports what we do and we are now ensuring that the project will go on into the future. There are always people who need more help. The partnership will help widen activities. The project has thrived.'

Mark Heasman, Ormiston Families CEO, said: 'We were immediately impressed by the amazing work done by the staff and volunteers at the Holt Youth Project so we are excited to get involved. Ormiston Families' infrastructure and expertise will ensure the project can continue to serve the young people of Holt and north Norfolk in the future.'

Are you involved in a north Norfolk youth group? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk

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