Norwich charity’s boost for vulnerable children

A city-based charity today thanked the Norfolk public for helping it raise thousands of pounds to provide a vital service which will help the vulnerable children of people addicted to drink and drugs.

Bosses at charity NORCAS launched the first public appeal in its 32-year-history last October - to raise �50,000 for a new youth service.

The Too Much Too Young appeal came as it was revealed that almost 30,000 children in Norfolk and Suffolk were living with parents who misuse drugs and alcohol.

NORCAS estimates that between 12,000 and 18,000 children in the two counties live in a home where one or both parents abuse alcohol, and up to 9,000 live with one or both parents with a drug problem.

In some cases, children as young as five are being forced to skip school to look after their parents and deal with their sickness.

NORCAS, based in Castle Meadow, does not get statutory funding to support those children, so launched its campaign to raise money for a new service.

The charity aimed to raise �50,000, but has outstripped that target already and is now advertising for the person to run the new service.

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The service would help those between the ages of seven and 13 who are affected by a family member's substance misuse.

It would offer support to the children, including one to one help, respite breaks, the chance for them to talk about their problems with other children in a similar position and awareness projects in schools.

Matt Wilson, head of fundraising at NORCAS, said: 'We have been quite bowled over by the generosity of some people and the lengths they have gone to.

'It's now very important for us to get the right person in post. It's very important for the young people who they will work with and for the people who have helped raise the money.'

Some of the cash for the project came from a sponsored rough sleep by former head of the army General Lord Sir Richard Dannatt, High Sheriff of Norfolk Charles Barratt and Judge Philip Curl last October, while Norwich City chief executive David McNally ran the London marathon for the charity.

But NORCAS is still raising money to keep the service running for as long as possible and is holding a charity ball at Sprowston Manor next month.

More than 170 tickets have already been sold and the event, on Saturday, June 17, will feature entertainment including live music, magician, photographer and cartoonist.

Guests will also enjoy drinks on arrival, a three course meal, raffle and auction.

To make a donation to the appeal, or to book a table for the ball, log on to www.toomuchtooyoungappeal.org.uk or call Matt Wilson on 01603 227053.

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