Great Yarmouth training scheme celebrates its 10th birthday

A MAJOR training centre that offers people a place to sharpen their skills and make new friends says it has directly helped 20,000 people to thrive.

Great Yarmouth Community Trust, based mainly in the Priory Centre, is celebrating 10 years of making a difference to people living in the borough’s most deprived wards.

Despite cuts which have shaved �1m off its shrinking budget its drive to improve the lot of people looking to make changes for the better remains undimmed as it plans for the future.

To celebrate a decade of achievement the trust has mounted a roving roadshow aimed at spreading the word about its many and varied services which are expanding all the time.

In the last few weeks it has added a children’s nursery which has 20 young clients on roll and an employment agency and is keen to protect its range of activities which span flower arranging, nutrition, baby music, adult learning, life skills, gardening and much more.

Having stopped first at Yarmouth library the roadshow will move on to Market Gates before splitting and going to a host of venues including the James Paget Hospital, only to re-group for its big birthday bash later this month.

Chairman John Holmes said he was proud of the trust’s achievements having grown out of the children-centred Sure Start scheme to embrace much more.

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One of its greatest successes was the flourishing art group whose work and enthusiasm caught the trained eye of the National Gallery in London who paid for the whole group to visit, he added.

Chief executive Andrew Forrest said: “The future feels good. We need to change in the way we do things and fund things. But those changes will not impact on front-line services. We just have to paddle that bit harder to keep going.

“We have helped people to move on to better paid employment and bring more stability to their lives.”

Its latest drive is to recruit community shareholders who receive a life-long stake in the operation, including a say in how it is run, offers and discounts, and exclusive trips for just �2.

The idea fits in with the “inclusive” ethos of the trust.

The centre is currently working to assess the impact of the recession on people who live in the town the results of which will help tailor its services where there is most need.

Having felt the impact itself it has had to shed around five staff and take a long hard look at its finances in order to protect services and help individuals whose problems are being added to by a lack of cash.

For more information call 01493 743000 or visit