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Youth charity boss to step down

PUBLISHED: 16:04 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:40 31 October 2019

John Gordon-Saker, chief executive of OPEN Youth Trust, speaks at the launch of the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2019. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

John Gordon-Saker, chief executive of OPEN Youth Trust, speaks at the launch of the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2019. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The departing boss of a Norfolk youth charity has said he will remember his time in charge "with fondness".

British wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, who was announced as an OPEN Youth Trust ambassador, pictured with John Gordon-Saker in 2017. Photo: Steve AdamsBritish wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, who was announced as an OPEN Youth Trust ambassador, pictured with John Gordon-Saker in 2017. Photo: Steve Adams

John Gordon-Saker took over as chief executive of OPEN Youth Trust in 2015 and helped to establish the charity as a community asset for Norwich and Norfolk.

During his tenure, the number of young people engaging with the charity has trebled and its Bank Plain premises has become renowned as a top banqueting and entertainment venue.

Mr Gordon-Saker said he was leaving to spend more time with his grandchildren and focus on his work with other local creative and business groups, including Norwich Film Festival, of which he is chairman.

He said: "It has been a privilege to run such an outstanding charity with wonderful, dedicated staff and fabulously supportive clients, sponsors and partners.

John Gordon-Saker outside OPEN on Bank Plain in 2017. Picture: ANTONY KELLYJohn Gordon-Saker outside OPEN on Bank Plain in 2017. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

"I will look back on my time at OPEN with fondness, wish everyone well and look forward to remaining a strong advocate for the trust and everything it stands for."

Chairman of trustees Russell Dacre, said: "John has been a great support to the trustees and the whole OPEN team, and we understand his reasons for leaving.

"During his time at OPEN, the charity has trebled in terms of the number of young people engaging with the charity. In addition, new revenue streams have been introduced such as the café, gym and school engagement.

"The venue is now also regarded as having the largest banqueting hall in Norwich with top in-house catering and excellent technical infrastructure.

"Events like Oktoberfest, Norfolk Youth Awards and the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards will provide a proud legacy of his time with us. We wish him well for the future."

More than 10,000 young people every year attend youth-related events, shows and conferences in the old banking hall.

The distinctive building was designed in 1926, and at its peak it said to have had the longest banking counter in the UK. It was, for a time, the regional headquarters of Barclays.

Do you have a Norwich story we should be writing about? Email bethany.whymark@archant.co.uk

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