Thursday, April 10, 2014
The Princess Royal gave her seal of approval to YMCA Norfolk’s £4.5m MyPlace accommodation in Norwich during a 60-minute visit.
She saw the MyPlace development, on Bethel Street, which opened two years ago and provides 40 self-contained flats for young people as well as training and support facilities.
She had the opportunity to look inside the flat of resident Paige Murphy and see a cookery training session in action, before meeting staff, residents, board members, patrons and civic dignitaries, signing a visitors book and unveiling a commemorative plaque.
After showing the Princess around her flat, Miss Murphy, 19, said: “I have been here for seven months and it provides a breath of fresh air every teenager needs. I told the Princess about my college child care training and about my work in a canteen and how the YMCA has supported me. It was a memorable occasion and one that I am sure I will be telling my children about in years to come.”
Princess Anne saw a cookery training session in the training kitchen. The session on cost-effective ways to decorate cakes, was run by support worker Jane Graham, who helps run the six-week Joy of Food course which young people are also offered.
She said: “The course aims to help teach the young people basic cooking skills and how to prepare good food economically. We cover things such as making a stir fry, roast dinner and pizza as well as food hygiene. The Princess was genuinely interested in the young people who were involved and what we do with them. She spoke to each and every one of them.”
YMCA Norfolk CEO Tim Sweeting welcomed guests including YMCA Norfolk patrons, board members, staff, residents and civic and city leaders.
“MyPlace provides 40 vital units of accommodation for young people as they try to get themselves to a place where they can build a future for themselves,” he said. “It is a place where they become strong mentally, physically and spiritually. A place where they become economically active, contributing to their families and society at large. A place to grow and develop where there is always someone to turn to for advice and guidance.
“But despite this, and our other facilities for up to 280 people every night, we are not close to meeting the needs of vulnerable young people in Norfolk. So we are redoubling our efforts this year, increasing the number of homes we can offer young people at rents that are affordable as they enter employment but with a safety net to ensure help is at hand if they hit any bumps along the way.”
To find out more visit www.ymca-norfolk.org.uk.