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£60,000 Support for a YMCA project

Single parent families in Norwich will get help and support thanks to Norfolk Freemasons
18th May 2023

Around 100 formerly homeless people from young single parent families will be given the support they need to move on with their lives, thanks to a grant of £60,000 from Norfolk Freemasons to YMCA Norfolk.
This project will support vulnerable and hard to reach single parent families by providing a dedicated Family Engagement Worker to provide 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 likely include counselling, parenting skills, 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.
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.
John Lee, YMCA Norfolk CEO, said “We are 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.”
Stephen Allen, Head of Norfolk Freemasons, said:
“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.”