Image from left to right: Susie Knights, YMCA Norfolk Marketing and Fundraising Manager, John Lee, YMCA Norfolk CEO, Stephen Brooks, YMCA Norfolk Community Housing Officer, Mike Spalding, Norfolk Freemasons Communications Officer, Damien Woolston, YMCA Norfolk Community Housing Manager, Stephen Allen, Head of the Norfolk Freemasons.
YMCA Norfolk have successfully secured £60,000 in funding to deliver a 2-year positive activities and engagement programme to their Umbrella Housing clients, thanks to a grant from the Norfolk Freemasons.
The Umbrella project currently houses 26 vulnerable, single-parent families in Norwich and a further 3 families in Great Yarmouth. Funding will provide a dedicated Family Engagement Worker to deliver a range of support, activities and opportunities to ensure a brighter future for them and their children.
The project will be tailored to the young people’s strengths and aspirations, enabling them to address poor social mobility, parenting skills, improve physical, emotional and mental health, reduce loneliness and isolation and sustain independent living.
The support on offer will include counselling, parenting skills, cooking workshops, financial literacy, life skills, creating peer support networks and much more over a period of up to two years. The aim is to get them into a position to be ready to pass the local authority assessment for placement into council accommodation, and give them the skills and tools they need to maintain independence and not go back into the ‘system’.
Many of these parents are care leavers themselves, and risk their own children following in their footsteps into the cycle of care. They are referred into YMCA accommodation by social services, are aged 16-25 themselves and all have young children.
YMCA Norfolk have designed the programme using research with their intended beneficiaries, with research showing 90 per cent requested community based social and peer support groups, while 80 per cent requested practical support like budgeting and education and employment support. The project’s success will be measured on the number of families successfully avoiding children being taken into care, and instead successfully accessing social housing.
John Lee, YMCA Norfolk CEO, said:
“We’re very grateful to Norfolk Freemasons for their generous grant which will allow us to give support to single parent families that is designed to change the course of their lives. The aim is to get them into social housing, equipped with the skills they need to become independent – and we could not do this without the support of the Norfolk Freemasons.”
The grant from Norfolk Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Stephen Allen, head of the Norfolk Freemasons commented:
“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help YMCA Norfolk with their excellent project to help local one parent families. The parenting and financial skills on offer are potentially life-changing, giving them a chance of real independence, where the children can hope to take full advantage of their education and break the cycle of depravation that has blighted their parents’ lives.”
About the Masonic Charitable Foundation
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief. In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Freemasons and their families with a financial, health or family need. Visit www.mcf.org.uk
For further information about the Masonic Charitable Foundation, please contact Guy Roberts, Press Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org |0203 146 3311)
About YMCA Norfolk
YMCA Norfolk is the longest standing youth charity in Norfolk, on a mission to transform young lives. They have been active in our community for over 165 years, providing services across five core areas of work: Accommodation, Family Work, Support and Advice, Health and Wellbeing and Training and Education. They house over 300 young people every year, aged 16-25, who would otherwise be homeless or living in a dangerous situation.
For more information or any press queries please contact YMCA Norfolk’s senior marketing and fundraising officer, Harriet King, on email@example.com