Norfolk leaders join YMCA effort

SHAUN LOWTHORPE A £1.1m fundraising effort to build two new YMCA centres in Norwich is being boosted by a special council of Norfolk political, business and religious leaders.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

A £1.1m fundraising effort to build two new YMCA centres in Norwich is being boosted by a special council of Norfolk political, business and religious leaders.

YMCA Norfolk has appointed a high- profile council of patrons to help its 150th anniversary appeal reach its target.

Headed by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, the council will help to raise cash needed to complete the second phase of develop-ment of residential facilities planned to replace the hostel in St Giles.

Joining Bishop Graham are MPs Charles Clarke, Ian Gibson, Richard Bacon and Norman Lamb, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Richard Jewson, Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lady Kay Fisher and Gen Sir Richard Dannatt.

Other members are Michael Churchouse, Rosemary English, Caroline Jarrold, Paul King, Patrick Snowball, Mark Jeffries, Richard Jarrold, Nigel Savory and Henry Cator.

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City councillors Steve Morphew, Ian Couzens and Hereward Cooke and Norfolk County Council's Lisa Christensen have also signed up.

Funding is already in place for the £2.7m 34-room development next to the new Norwich bus-station site and a further £3m has been allocated to the second phase of 40 self-contained move-on accommodation units in the city. A further £1.1m funds are needed to be found from a public appeal.

YMCA Norfolk chief executive officer and Sheriff of Norwich, John Drake, said he was delighted that people with civic and leadership responsibilities were prepared to publicly support the mission of the YMCA.

"The council of patrons are the people who give the strategic oversight to the appeal and their involvement will raise the profile of the fundraising," he said.

"The Bishop of Norwich has enthusiastically supported our vision to remodel our residential facilities in the city centre and he instigated and will chair the council which meets for the first time on October 6. It is not totally surprising that the family names of our founding fathers of 1856 are as ever present again in 2006."