YMCA Norfolk were presented with the Blue Plaque award on 20th April given in recognition of their resilience throughout the Covid-19 crisis by Lord Dannatt on behalf of Her Majesty’s representative in Norfolk, The Lord Lieutenant, Lady Dannatt.
The receiving of the award ties in with the charity’s anniversary, celebrating the opening of their Aylsham Road community hub, 1 year ago, which has welcomed over 16,000 customers from the local community since opening its doors in April 2021.
Lord Dannatt, Deputy Lieutenant and YMCA Norfolk President, presented the youth charity with their Blue Plaque award along with Deputy Lieutenant, The Reverend Matthew Hutton.
“There has been a tremendous amount of coming together and helping others over the last two years across Norfolk. The trustees, staff and volunteers of YMCA Norfolk have pulled together to deliver and improve their services through very difficult circumstances.
“Post-pandemic, it is right to remember just how communities worked together during these challenging times, which is why we are presenting YMCA Norfolk with the Blue Plaque Award on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen and her Norfolk representative, the Lord Lieutenant, Lady Dannatt,” he said.
He spoke of how he was excited to present the award at the YMCA Norfolk Aylsham Road hub, and how pleased he was to see it being actively used to benefit the local community.
In the last year the community centre has hosted a range of fundraising events, parent and baby wellbeing groups, youth clubs, training courses as well as catering functions and children’s parties.
Williams’ Kitchen Café and Explorers Soft Play has proved to be a hit among the local community. Due to its popularity, the organisation continues to expand its team of staff members as it looks to recruit nursery nurses, a café chef, as well as positions across the charity’s frontline delivery.
John Lee, YMCA Norfolk CEO, said:
“It was our staff’s dedication and willingness to work in an arena with unknown risks, where the rules were constantly changing and where they had to enforce the rules which enabled our services to run as well as they did.
“The biggest testimony is that in our last residents survey 93% of them said they felt safe whilst living with us. “As we look forward to the future, it is an extremely exciting time for YMCA Norfolk as we increase the range of services we offer while investing in new opportunities – such as the community hub – to generate income to fund our vital frontline work supporting vulnerable young people and families in Norfolk.”
Receiving a number of five star reviews, the café and soft play has been praised by customers as a “clean and fresh venue” for children’s parties, a “convenient set up on Aylsham road with friendly staff” and a “wonderful space for children to play, good outdoor space with delicious baked goods.”
Mr. Lee added: “The success of our new centre highlights its need in the Norwich area, as well as the importance of offering an affordable, family-friendly environment for the local community to enjoy.”
The centre also features an Ofsted-registered nursery, Muddy Puddles, which is continuously welcoming new babies and pre-schoolers to its exciting new childcare facilities. Due to demand, the nursery currently has a waitlist and over 90 children enrolled and are therefore seeking level 2 and 3 qualified nursery nurses to join its experienced team.
In addition to recruiting nursery nurses for Muddy Puddles, YMCA Norfolk are also currently looking to welcome two new trustees to their board, to offer further experience and strategic direction to the executive team and existing team of passionate trustees.
For further information on vacancies currently available with YMCA Norfolk, based at the community hub and across their county-wide operations, please visit: www.ymcanorfolk.org/working-for-us or email our HR team on firstname.lastname@example.org