YMCA Norfolk held their Annual Celebration and Awards Ceremony at the Open Norwich Youth Trust on Thursday evening, November 7, in recognition of the amazing transformations of their young people, families, staff and volunteers.
The event was attended by YMCA President General, the Lord, Richard Dannatt, Lady Agnew, High Sheriff of Norfolk and Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councilor Vaughan Thomas, along with a wide range of supporter, YMCA Norfolk clients and staff.
Attendees heard inspiring stories of YMCA Norfolk’s young people and families, talking about their amazing transformations from street homelessness, domestic abuse, prostitution, family breakdowns and fleeing terror.
Tim Sweeting, YMCA Norfolk CEO, was interviewed by the evening’s host, Jazz Mickleburgh, former YMCA Norfolk Client – who also won young volunteer of the year at last year’s award ceremony.
During the interview Tim was asked about his biggest highlights and challenges of this year:
“One of the biggest highlights of this year for me is our £200,000 grant from Anguish Educational Foundation. The opportunity to have a three-year life coach programme for our young people is amazing and will make a huge difference.
“One of the biggest challenges is watching our young people doubt themselves. We see so much potential in them, but unfortuchantely sometimes low-self esteem means they often don’t see that potential in themselves, and we really wish they could because they have so much to offer.” said Tim.
During the celebration, young YMCA Norfolk staff members shared their experiences of the global YMCA 175 event in London this summer, which saw YMCA’s all over the world join to celebrate 175 years of the founding of the YMCA. The 175 team also discussed the ways in which YMCA Norfolk will implement sustainable development goals in the new year.
Lord Richard Dannatt then
presented awards to a number of winners, alongside YMCA Norfolk housing
managers who praised the nominees and winners for their exceptional transitions
during their time in the services.
The Healthy Living Award went to Holly Twiddy, for her ongoing commitment to overcoming health difficulties – not letting them interfere with her life – and for continuously engaging in positive activities.
Young Volunteer of the Year went to Catt Whittingham, a highly valued member of the Great Yarmouth community, who volunteers at two different charities weekly, in addition to helping with YMCA food collections.
Tenant of the Year was Abbie Ellett, who was praised for coming on leaps and bounds – hugely developing her life skills since moving to her latest Supported Lodgings placement.
Young Achiever of the Year was Ryan Cooper who has recently overcome personal issues and is now enrolled on a college course.
The Inspiration Award went to Tony Scott, who was described as a prime example of the positive transition in a young person, and a great ambassador for YMCA Norfolk.
The organisation also introduced ‘Volunteer of the Year’ to the awards categories this year, which was won by Yvonne Mack. Yvonne volunteers at Umbrella Housing in Norwich, often praised by her colleagues for “working tirelessly to support her clients and set an incredibly high standard for others to follow.” Yvonne was also recently a birthing partner to one of her clients, Martine – an amazing example of the life-changing difference she makes.
Chloe Hillier gave an outstanding performance singing ‘Praying’ by Kesha – showcasing her amazing talent as a singer, while Stephen Phipps inspired the audience with his rap, in which he performed his own life story through his incredible lyrics.