Search

From sofa surfer to role model, how the YMCA turned this Norfolk man’s life around

PUBLISHED: 13:33 14 August 2018

Jamie Copping. Picture: YMCA Norfolk

Jamie Copping. Picture: YMCA Norfolk

YMCA Norfolk

A year ago he was living on his family and friends’ sofas, but today ‘role model’ Jamie Copping has transformed his fortunes.

YMCA families team. Photo: YMCA NorfolkYMCA families team. Photo: YMCA Norfolk

So much so that the Great Yarmouth man is now up for a national YMCA Young Volunteer of the Year award for his work with the charity’s Norfolk branch.

After a relationship breakdown left him homeless, Mr Copping was forced to move from sofa to sofa to stay off the streets.

But when the uncertainty became too much, Mr Copping approached the council for advice and they suggested he speak to YMCA Norfolk.

The next day he was given a bed in their Great Yarmouth hostel.

Although he admits to feeling scared on his first night, he believes it was thanks to support from staff that he was able to turn his fortunes around.

He said: “They help you out when you don’t know where else to go. They get you back and pull you in the right direction.”

More than just a hostel, the YMCA Norfolk helps residents build confidence and skills through a range of activities and volunteer opportunities. Mr Copping is about to become a fully qualified archery instructor thanks to YMCA’s work with outdoor adventure company Ascend Adventure.

In March, Mr Copping swapped Great Yarmouth for Kenya as part of a two-week visit organised by the charity.

The group of seven, made up of residents, volunteers and staff, wanted to strengthen relations with sister organisations in Nairobi and Mombassa.

As well as learning about Kenyan culture, the Norfolk team delivered donations of books, pens and sanitary items collected back home.

The trip was Mr Copping’s first time abroad and he said the experience changed the way he viewed his own life.

He added: “1,000 feet in the air on the plane I looked down and thought ‘is this actually happening?’ I realised how much I take for granted, like how we have running water and can just go to the tap and drink.”

On returning to the UK, Mr Copping said his confidence and independence are continuing to grow.

On top of volunteering his gardening skills to help the Norfolk win the YMCA garden project, he represented the county at the YMCA National Conference in July, an event which Norwich will host in 2019.

He said: “The activities have built up my confidence a lot. Before I was involved [with YMCA Norwich] I didn’t want to do much, but now I know I’m helping out and making a difference.”

In the past year 2,047 local people have been supported by YMCA Norfolk, including the homeless and children at risk of being taken into care.

A testament to the success of the organisation is the fact they have also been nominated for YMCA of the Year. The award recognises the “hard work and unfaltering dedication” to improving lives in the local community. One of only five shortlisted for the prestigious title, the charity is hoping the community will back their work by voting.

Meanwhile, their work with families going through difficult times has been recognised with a nomination for YMCA Family Work Project of the year. Staff provide a large range of services to match the varied needs of local families, including mediation for when communication has broken down between family members. Although their main focus is always the safety of children involved, they work with whole families to tackle everything from employment, mental health and substance abuse.

All the awards are decided on public vote, and the charity hopes that when Norwich hosts the YMCA National Conference in 2019, they will be able to do so knowing they are delievering the best service in the country.

To vote click here

Other News

52 minutes ago

An 11-year-old girl who went missing from a holiday park in Caister has been found safe and well.

Suffolk Police have named a 56-year-old from Redisham in Suffolk as the missing swimmer.

Lifeboats and a coastguard helicopter searching for a missing swimmer near Lowestoft have been stood down.

12:51

From frequent late trains to reliable services, Norfolk’s worst and best stations for delayed train journeys have been revealed by analysis of punctuality figures.

Most Read

Tue, 18:54

Four police officers were forced to sit on a man to get him under control during a dramatic arrest in Great Yarmouth.

Read more
Great Yarmouth Police
Mon, 10:09

American fast food chain Taco Bell is launching in Great Yarmouth and now its location has been revealed.

Read more
Jonathan Newman
Thu, 17:29

Two cars have been involved in a collision in Gorleston High Street.

Read more
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
Mon, 13:40

A teenager has been charged after a woman in her 60s was assaulted on the Great Yarmouth market place.

Read more
Norwich Magistrates Court
Tue, 13:01

A teenager who was found with a flick knife shortly after a man was slashed across the neck in Great Yarmouth has been jailed.

Read more
Martin Ivory

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 9°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Great Yarmouth Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy