May 24 2013 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Thursday, October 18, 2012
One of Norfolk’s longest-established charities will step out of the shadows and into the limelight this evening to tell the world about its new focus on young people.
Break, which has been supporting vulnerable people of all ages for nearly 45 years, is set to take centre stage in front of 120 invited guests at The Forum, Norwich, and unveil a new strapline “Changing young lives” which will henceforth form part of its logo.
The change follows the Sheringham-based charity’s gradual expansion and diversification, especially over recent years, into much more work with children, young people and their families across East Anglia.
It has coincided with the closure of Rainbow House in Sheringham, once Break’s flagship building, which offered holidays to children and adults.
Break found that in Rainbow’s last two years 92pc of those staying there were adults; a fact the charity found difficult to square with its credo of supporting young children and families.
Charity chief executive Chris Hoddy hopes this evening’s event will also help Break become a better-known household name in its home county.
Thousands will have popped into one of the charity’s shops over the years to buy a book, bracelet or blouse but many will have left clutching their bargain bags without properly registering the name above the door.
“We feel we should perhaps be putting ourselves further forward because we have possibly shunned the limelight for too long,” said Mr Hoddy.
“It’s very important that people understand what we do and perhaps they will then feel inspired to support us.”
And Break does a great deal. Its name derives from its early days as a charity which provided breaks, holidays and respite for people with disabilities – a role it continues to fulfil for young people and families.
But Mr Hoddy said the word now symbolised so much more: break-ing the cycle of deprivation.
Last year the charity supported more than 2,000 young people in care and moving on, those with disabilities, families needing support, and children at risk.
While Break’s name may be new to some men and women on the Norwich omnibus, the charity is a well-known and respected partner of Norfolk County Council and its Cambridgeshire counterpart.
Break works with the two authorities, providing services at seven family-sized homes.
Its most recent additions opened last year, in Thetford and March. All Break’s homes provide safety and stability for children and young people who, for a variety of reasons, can no longer live with their own families.
Break’s expert staff also assess families whose children are at risk, on behalf of Norfolk County Council.
The charity’s first group of foster carers has recently been approved while its Moving on Team helps young people learn how to live independently when they’ve left the charity’s care – and its work does not end at that point in a young person’s life.
Staff from Embrace, a charity now under Break’s umbrella, are there for pregnant teenagers and parents, visiting young families and helping them adjust to caring for their babies, homes, health and finances.
And the charity is continuing to evolve. This month saw it join forces with another charity, Families House, in Ber Street, Norwich, which helps families with a wide range of difficulties and where parents are living apart.
Despite tough economic conditions, Mr Hoddy said Break would continue to look for new areas where its expertise could help those in need.
He added; “It’s not easy in this climate but we are prepared to take calculated risks when the time is right. You have got to have a ‘can do’ attitude – and Break has.”