Norwich homeless charity set to close its doors after 44 years

A charity which has been supporting homeless men in Norwich and Norfolk for 44 years is set to shut down its hostel next month - but has ambitious plans to develop its skills centre.

The St Edmunds Society has been providing temporary accommodation for males aged 16 and over at its hostel in Earlham Road since 1968.

But the charity's services were decommissioned in March last year. The charity's accommodation service has remained in situ until an alternative provider was identified but, to coincide with the opening of a new hostel for homeless and ex-offenders in Dibden Road run by the Broadland Housing Association, will close its doors on June 6.

The charity's 11 paid staff will move to the new hostel, under a transfer of undertakings protection of employment (Tupe) agreement, as will its current tenants.

However, despite losing the accommodation side of its services, the charity has vowed to continue to help young people, both male and female aged over 14, gain qualifications through its skills development project.

The charity's chief executive Lorraine Bliss said: 'It's sad that after 44 years, St Edmunds Society is closing its doors on June 6.

'We would like to thank all our supporters and colleagues who have worked with us over the time. Unfortunately the contract for Dibden Road went out to tender and St Edmunds took the decision not to bid for it. We wish Broadland well with their new venture.

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'However, out of every negative, comes a positive and St Edmunds is very committed to its skill development centre, providing training for young people aged 14 and over.'

St Edmunds has formed a partnership with similar charities across the UK and housebuilder Taylor Wimpey which will see it receive much-needed funds for its skills development centre.

The facility is currently based in Bull Close but it is hoped with funding from Taylor Wimpey, it will move to larger premises to cater for the demand.

Young people who are facing exclusion from school, have been excluded or have been referred by adult education or City College Norwich can gain qualifications in skills such as painting and decorating, carpentry and brick laying.

Mrs Bliss added: 'This opportunity to have this partnership arrangement with Taylor Wimpey is a very exciting one. Without a job you cannot successfully secure a home and likewise without a home it becomes more difficult to secure employment.

'With the assistance of Taylor Wimpey we are hopeful that many of our young people may be able to identify their full potential, learn from their craftsmen, achieve qualifications and go on to lead meaningful lives within the community.'

Don't miss the Evening News' first look at the Dibden Road hostel next week.

Are you fighting to safeguard the future of your charity or organisation? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email

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