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Norwich council loan boosts YMCA move-on project 

BethelCrowd600A £400,000 loan from Norwich City Council to YMCA Norfolk will part fund the build of move-on accommodation for a number of homeless and vulnerable young people in Norfolk.

 
Construction of the new 40-bedroom site on Bethel Street began after the YMCA’s St Giles Street building was deemed unfit for purpose, leading the charity to consider selling the property in order to finance the creation of new accommodation.
 
The project  suffered a setback however when offer for the St Giles Street  premises in 2008 was shortly followed by the UK’s economic downturn, prompting this offer to be withdrawn.
 
After the YMCA approached the city council for funding, arrangements for an interest free loan were put in place to help enable completion of the much-needed accommodation.
 
This cash injection is welcomed by the YMCA as the interest accrued on a private loan would have forced the charity to direct resources away from the work it carries out, which could have a knock on impact on council homelessness services, and the lives of a number of vulnerable local people.
 
With the loan agreed YMCA Norfolk are now looking to raise the final £370,000 to ensure the project is fully funded, with applications to grant-making trusts and an on-going public appeal.
 
When work to the Bethel Street site finishes in May 2012, the YMCA will have completed its two-part  project  to relocate its services. Norwich City Council supplied land adjacent to the Surrey Street bus station to enable completion of the first phase in 2009, and this involved building a 34-bedroom assessment centre that offered short stay accommodation.
 
Cllr Victoria MacDonald, cabinet member for housing, said: “I am delighted that we were able to step in to ensure this building is finished. There is a very real need to provide housing in Norwich for homeless and vulnerable people and the support which the YMCA provides is invaluable.”
 
YMCA Norfolk Chief Executive, Tim Sweeting, said “The backing of Norwich City Council is a very welcome boost to the projext which aims to help homeless and vulnerable young people take the next step in moving towards independent living and fulfilled lives. We will now be able to focus our efforts on raising the final £370,000 we need to complete the project.

Pictured top are current YMCA Norfolk staff outside the rapidly growing Bethel Street project.

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