The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

YMCA Norfolk celebrates inspiring young people 

YMCA Norfolk’s annual celebration and award ceremony returned to the stage on Thursday November 17 – where an audience of 180 joined the charity to celebrate their inspiring young people, clients, staff and volunteers.

Held at the Space, Norwich, the evening was hosted by YMCA Youth Ambassador, Charlie Smith, and included presentations from YMCA Norfolk CEO, John Lee, YMCA Norfolk President, Lord Richard Dannatt GCB, CBE, MC, DL as well as stories from staff members and young people who bravely shared their hope-filled journeys.

Councillors, civics, patrons and trustees heard from housing clients Matthew Webster, Andrew Fountain, Shannon Coleman and Conor Frost, alongside an incredible talk from former E-Learning Service student Jack Parfitt and presentations from youth coaches Jade Crowe, George King and Ruth Vaughan.

The celebration was followed by an uplifting awards ceremony, where winners were announced across six categories:

Young Volunteer of the Year: Recognised a dedicated young volunteer who has shown outstanding commitment to the YMCA and their local community. The winner of this award was Bethan Jones, a young volunteer that has offered a lot of free time to YMCA Norfolk’s youth services through running Arts and Crafts at our Catton Grove club and encouraging young people to use their imagination. 

Healthy Living Award:  Recognised a young person who has made positive steps towards improving both their physical and mental wellbeing, was won by Oscar Warren, who’s ‘change in attitude and motivation towards personal health has shown real growth.’ Oscar had previously never eaten vegetables and hated gardening or the idea of growing their own food. He is now known for growing their very own pumpkin, chillies, herbs, spinach, tomatoes, and strawberries, eating lots of fresh food and veg and preparing their own food with the crops they’ve grown.

Tenant of the Year: Recognised a tenant who is involved in all aspects of their home and community. The judges were looking for an individual who makes a real difference in their community.  Charlotte Clare was awarded Tennant of the Year 2022 – praised for her huge transformation and growth throughout her time with YMCA Norfolk. Charlotte is now in the process of a positive move on, after finding coping mechanisms to better manage her mental health independently. 

Inspiration Award: Celebrated an individual who has inspired others in a number of ways, and has a huge impact on their community, peers, and YMCA staff. The winner of this award was Umbrella Housing Client, Tabitha Nathan, who has overcome a number of challenges to build a brighter future for her 3 children. Tabitha was praised for her “upbeat vibe and ability to always show compassion to others. Throughout her stay at YMCA Norfolk, she has been a model tenant and an inspiration to all.”

Community Champion Award: Mark Devany was announced as YMCA Norfolk’s 2022 Community Champion, after providing the charity with a fantastic opportunity to showcase their commitment to young people and their wellbeing. Mark approached YMCA Norfolk to carry out a community youth mental health pilot, which led to 223 young people receiving support who would have otherwise continued to experience escalation or concern or have remained on a wait list. .  A further 275 young people will now be supported through further work that the pilot enabled YMCA Norfolk to secure.

Richard Jarrod Achievement Award: Richard was a committed and passionate believer in young people who served YMCA Norfolk in various roles over more than 50 years. In his memory, this award recognises a young person or family who have overcome challenges in their lives to achieve something of great significance in their efforts to reach their full potential. Russell Vincent was announced the winner of the award, presented by Richard’s daughter, Caroline Jarrold.

John Lee, YMCA Norfolk CEO, said: “It was great to have our annual celebration return after a long three-year break due to the pandemic – and what an incredible comeback! It was clear that the celebration and awards ceremony left attendees feeling both inspired and proud to be a supporter of YMCA Norfolk.

“Each and every nominee and winner should be extremely proud of themselves. Reading their nominations was extremely moving, and highlighted the importance of celebrating the achievements of our amazing young people.” 

Click here to read a digital review of the year from YMCA Norfolk.

Pictured above are the winners with John Lee, Lord Dannatt, and civic guests.

See more pictures here.


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