YMCA Norfolk reaches �1m target for Norwich project

A public appeal to raise �1m to complete the funding for a �4.4m development of 40 self-contained flats for young homeless people in Norwich city centre has been reached.

YMCA Norfolk's Bethel Street project appeal has now topped its �1m target, thanks to a series of donations from individuals, local organisations and charitable trusts.

The new development is due to open its doors in August.

Fundraising manager Susie Knights said: 'We are grateful to everyone who contributed towards this appeal. It has enabled us to build friendships and partnerships with charitable trusts, funding organisations and local businesses, as well as all many individuals from across Norfolk who gave towards the brick appeal.'

In January 2009, YMCA Norfolk opened the 34-bed assessment centre next to Norwich bus station in All Saints Green which has since been operating successfully with almost 500 applications and a 98 per cent occupancy rate.

As the second phase, the Bethel Street development will provide 40 self-contained move-on units for homeless young people, on the site to the rear of the existing YMCA site on St Giles Street.

Tim Sweeting, the charity's chief executive, said: 'This new service will improve outcomes for young people and give them a better chance of reaching their full potential.

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'Every young person deserves the best we can offer, and this new facility will help us offer the care and respect that they need to overcome the significant difficulties they will have faced before reaching us.'

Last year, as part of the �1m appeal, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, who is chairman of the YMCA Norfolk council of patrons, launched a Brick Appeal to pay for the 70,000 bricks that have been used to build the new development.

The charity is asking members of the public to support young homeless people through its room sponsorship scheme. To find out more details, go to www.ymca-norfolk.org.uk/roomsponsorship.

Are you launching a major fundraising scheme? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.

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