Local charity celebrate diamond anniversary

Norfolk and Norwich Scope Association launch of its new TOP Suite (Transitional, Opportunity and Pro

Norfolk and Norwich Scope Association launch of its new TOP Suite (Transitional, Opportunity and Progress).PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYCOPY:FOR:EN local life© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010 (01603 772434) - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC 2

It started 60 years ago in a baptist church in Norwich.

Children enjoying the story blanket at NANSA. Photo: Bill Smith

Children enjoying the story blanket at NANSA. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

And now local charity NANSA (Norfolk and Norwich Scope Association) is celebrating its anniversary by launching a Diamond Appeal to continue helping people with disabilities in Norfolk.

Announced at an event held yesterday in the Forum in Norwich, the organisation proudly revealed its plans to raise money to refurbish and increase capacity at the current centre on Bowthorpe Road.

The building is now 50 years old and the plans would see it transformed to provide essential education facilities and employment opportunities for the next generation of young people and adults with disabilities in Norfolk.

Speaking during yesterday's ceremony, Natalie Marshall, NANSA fundraising and marketing manager, explained why the appeal was so important.

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She said: 'We want to be able to create a new centre which will be used for the next 60 years.'

In 1954, NANSA was founded by Norfolk families of children with cerebral palsy due to lack of services. The Tooke and Lancaster families put an article in the EDP appealing for volunteers to launch the association.

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From there the parents held regular meetings at the Assembly Rooms in Norwich and worked together to create employment opportunities for when their children left school.

Since then the charity has gone from strength to strength.

In 1956 a day clinic was opened at the Jenny Lind Hospital, based at the Norfolk and Norwich university Hospital. In 1958 Peter and Alice Blackburn became members of NANSA and continue their support to this day with Mr Blackburn as the charity's patron.

In 1960 an appeal was launched for a new centre to be built in the city and Harry Boreham, from the EDP, became a member and launched the first Miss NANSA competition and pile of pennies campaign.

By June 1965 a work centre was opened, costing £28,000, offering sheltered work opportunities. Within four years around 30 people attended work at the centre and by the Seventies basic education and vocational training was introduced. In 1987 the type of work changed to various forms of training such as catering, knitting, sewing, woodwork, adult numeracy and literacy, IT and reception work.

And in 1995 the name of the charity officially became NANSA.

During yesterday's event Sheila Parish, chief executive of NANSA, praised the hard work of everyone involved in the project.

She said: 'We've come to realise in order to continue we need to upgrade and expand our centre on Bowthorpe Road. We also hope to open our doors to more people.

'I know that a lot of people have helped to get our Diamond Appeal running and we really do appreciate everyone's hard work.'

Users of the service also gave inspiring talks about how the charity has helped them and their families and a group joined together to sing happy birthday before tucking into a gigantic cake. And out in the Forum stalls included displays featuring the work of different services, live sessions, a charity clothes stall and information points about NANSA.

To find out more about NANSA visit www.nansa.org.uk or ring the family centre on 01603 414109.

Are you involved in a charity appeal? Email donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk

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