Mile Cross in Norwich is ranked among the top 10% of most disadvantaged areas in the country, and has been identified in The Norwich Economic Strategy as having the most intense concentration of unemployment in Norwich. These problems result in poor prospects for children, including low attainment and relatively high numbers of children leaving school and classed as Not in Employment, Education or Training.
YMCA Norfolk’s mission is to transform the lives of young people across Norfolk, and with help from an benefact Trust Growing Lives grant in 2020 – a scheme which is now closed - it is redeveloping the disused Jubilee Hall in Mile Cross into a community hub focused on providing support for young people from the start of their lives through to adulthood.
The hub will house the charity’s corporate offices, Williams’ Kitchen, a community cafe named after YMCA founder George Williams, the Explorers soft play area and Muddy Puddles, a 90-place children’s nursery. Through this project YMCA Norfolk aims to help build the foundations for strong families and community relationships in this disadvantaged area of the city.
The nursery will provide OFSTED-approved care to children from families of all backgrounds, with subsidised places for low income families, in an area with inadequate day-care provision for pre-school children. The nursery will offer practical support to secure a brighter future for children, young people and families.
Community Hub Progress
YMCA Norfolk has taken full possession of the exciting and innovative community hub. The keys were handed over from the developers on 25 January 2021 and the freehold transfer of the building was completed on 12 February.
The team has been making progress with the fit-out and unpacking of furniture, games and materials for the nursery, ready for the anticipated opening date of 12 April 2021!
The initial staff team has been recruited and the Soft Play has also been installed. YMCA Norfolk is now in the process of completing Williams’ Kitchen too, with the hope that the café and the rest of the building can open gradually in accordance with government guidelines.
Andrew Bass, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “We’re proud to support the development of the new community hub through our Growing Lives funding. It will make a huge difference to the lives of young people and their families in Norwich, and we can’t wait to visit when it’s safe to do so.”