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Merger deal will help troubled Yarmouth charity to survive and grow

PUBLISHED: 14:18 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:18 15 January 2019

Colin Lang has taken over running of Yarmouth charity Anchorage Trust.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Colin Lang has taken over running of Yarmouth charity Anchorage Trust. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

A cash-strapped Great Yarmouth charity is to merge with a county-wide organisation as it looks to grow and shake-off a reputation tarnished by debt.

Some 19 young people aged between 18 and 30 are living under the wing of The Anchorage Trust which provides housing and training in the town.

The charity was formed in 2015 but two years later it emerged it had tipped into the red to the tune of £30,000 and reported itself to regulators.

It’s founder Ben Stone left in August 2017.

Current chief executive Colin Lang said joining with the Benjamin Foundation meant it could continue its work and grow.

Under the merger the Anchorage Trust will be dissolved with the Charity Commission by March 1.

MORE: Yarmouth charity reports itself to regulators amid £30,000 of debt

The service works with private landlords to house young people in houses of multiple occupation (HMOs)and support them with training and life skills like managing budgets and batch cooking.

Since the advent of universal credit its unique selling point is being able to pay landlords direct as a housing provider.

Mr Lang, a former policeman of 32 years, said financial problems at the charity had never interfered with its services and that under the merger its clients and staff would see little change.

It currently has four HMO properties but is looking for two more able to house at least six young people.

The service is supported by M&S which donates food close to its best-before date which might otherwise be wasted.

He said: “I had one trustee and I had to go out and find six more good quality people from around Norfolk each bringing a lot of expertise to the table.

“Between them and the staff and the young people we have turned this around to the extent that somebody wants to merge with us.

“We went out to five organisations to see if they were interested and two said they were.

“The board decided to go with the Benjamin Foundation because they have been doing it for 25 years and they have a wealth of experience.”

Tony Ing of the Benjamin Foundation said: “I believe this is a really positive decision as it brings together two organisations with complementary services and common interests.”

“While the focus will initially remain in Great Yarmouth we see no reason why we shouldn’t be able to offer this great service to more young people in other locations in Norfolk and neighbouring counties.”

The Benjamin Foundation operates a 17-bed hostel in Yarmouth, Aspire in Market Row.

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