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Mystery entrepreneur donates £10k to charity that helped when he was homeless

PUBLISHED: 11:17 13 November 2020 | UPDATED: 15:44 13 November 2020

St Edmunds Society chief executive Lorraine Bliss. Picture: Denise Bradley

St Edmunds Society chief executive Lorraine Bliss. Picture: Denise Bradley

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A successful businessman who was once homeless has donated £10,000 to a Norwich charity that helps train marginalised and vulnerable young people.

Some of the construction students at work at the St Edmunds Society. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSome of the construction students at work at the St Edmunds Society. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The St Edmund’s Society’s training centre in Oak Street specialises in alternative education, meaningful qualifications and a path to employment for those who were less than well served by the traditional education system.

The charity, which was founded in 1965, began as an accommodation project to support homeless young men under 24, but in 2012 trustees shifted their emphasis towards alleviating what they considered a primary cause of youth homelessness; a lack of educational attainment and qualifications.

MORE: ‘Alarming’ rise in referrals leaves charity that trains marginalised young people struggling cope

Not directly funded by the government, the charity relies on the generosity of the public and coronavirus has seen a big rise in the number of young people being referred, said chief executive Lorraine Bliss.

Now a successful local entrepreneur, who prefers to remain anonymous, has stepped in to donate £10,000.

Staff at St Edmunds Society in Norwich which has recieved a £10,000 donation from local entrepreneur who the charity helped whern he was homeless. Picture: St EdsStaff at St Edmunds Society in Norwich which has recieved a £10,000 donation from local entrepreneur who the charity helped whern he was homeless. Picture: St Eds

Mrs Bliss, who saw the donor pass through the charity’s doors a decade ago, said he had recently got in contact out of the blue.

She said: “He had found himself in need of St Eds’ aid as a young man with seemingly nowhere to go and no opportunities to further himself.

“We provided him with accommodation and support, but also the opportunity to reappraise his life and be proud to make something of the talents he had.

“After St Eds helped him get the start he needed, he went on to launch a successful media business, and today is the head of a thriving national company.

The St Edmunds Society building. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe St Edmunds Society building. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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“Although he was able to completely transform his life through hard work and application, he had not forgotten what St Eds did for him and countless others. His donation will be invaluable at a time when St Eds’ work is needed more than ever.”

The charity’s centre in Oak Street accommodates over 100 young people of all ages every year, providing vocational learning for jobs in sectors like construction, transport maintenance, catering and hair and beauty.

• You can support St Eds by making a donation that will make a real difference in supporting additional equipment such as tools, computers and materials.


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