Norwich’s Open Youth Venue sees dramatic increase in footfall

Norwich's Open Youth Trust continues to go from strength to strength and has seen an increase in the number of young people using its services.

The trust, which runs the Open Youth Venue in Bank Plain, Norwich, has reported more than double the number of visitors compared to the previous year.

The venue is home to recording and dance studios, media workshops, free internet access and a drop-in service.

Sarah Mintey, principal of the Open Youth Trust, pictured, said: 'Over 2011, Open Drop In has experienced a dramatic increase in demand which has had to be regularly capped due to ratio of staff to young people. With no statutory funding the Open Youth Trust had a footfall of 27,439 young people alone engaging with an assortment of programmes.'

A total of 13,019 used the centre's drop-in workshops, 14,410 the drop-in caf�, 1,714 the climbing wall and 1,596 the dance studios.


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The centre's nightclub for young people with disabilities, AJs, hosted three events during 2011, and the trust reports that 2,387 attended with more than 400 having already put their names on the list for the 2012 nights.

'I haven't got the exact figure, but I know it is at least double the amount from last year,' said Miss Mintey.

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'I attribute much of the success and growth to the great work of Ben Burt (positive activities manager and climbing instructor), Al Flatman (youth worker) and Dan Jeffrey (youth worker and climbing instructor).

'Also young people know where we are at, they like coming to Open and we are consistent in our delivery of services.'

The trust does not receive funding from the government, but relies on a business model to generate its own income through hiring out its services to other organisations.

Miss Mintey added: 'We have remained offering services when others have been cut, there has been a decline in Norfolk youth and community services and the budget has been cut.'

The venue has even suffered from being unable to meet the demand on occasion, and has had to turn some young people away.

For example, only 142 people used the venue's media lab in 2011 – which offers film and photography equipment – due to the venue not having staff with the necessary skills.

But Mrs Mintey has plans to see this change.

'We will be working in partnership with certain groups and we hope to get skilled people working with young people in the media lab. We will also be working with groups to increase our revenue. As soon as we can increase our revenue stream we can cater for more.'

The trust also runs the SOS Bus and SNAP under 18 nightclub events, and has just been granted a license to sell alcohol so will be putting on live gigs as of March 9.

Visit http://opennorwich.org.uk.

Are you involved in a project which is going from strength to strength? Call Joe Wilkes on 01603 772439 or email joe.wilkes@archant.co.uk

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