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Viewpoint - John Drake YMCA Norfolk

John Drake
Chief Executive Officer
YMCA Norfolk
In theviewpoints cross logo jpeg 21st Century the YMCA is known for many things. As the world’s largest Non Governmental Organisation it is serving in over 100 countries across the world. In Palestine it delivers education and training to young Palestinians. In the Gulf States it runs hostels for migrant workers. In America every small town has its own YMCA gymnasium complete with swimming pool and sports facilities.
However the YMCA in England is best known for its work with vulnerable young people at risk often in need of housing support and, quite distinctly separate, its work in sports and fitness ensuring people try to stay healthy.
Each YMCA is totally autonomous and usually self-financing. More like a convoy of independent ships rather than a commo55420dore with a fleet at his disposal.
The YMCA in Great Yarmouth was established in 1874 at Crane House, 24 South Quay. Over the years it has drawn its lay leadership and often financial encouragement from local visionaries who had a heart for their community. Great Yarmouth was no different. The names Palmers and Arnolds were synonymous with the YMCA in those early years. In the early part of the last Century the YMCA was a thriving place of activity. However the advent of the Great War changed not only the fortunes of the YMCA but reconfigurated the map of Europe. The Association’s archive clearly demonstrates the part the YMCA Great Yarmouth played in the service of the nation’s troops in both World Wars.
Today Great Yarmouth plays an active part in the work of YMCA Norfolk. Through its highly acclaimed Supported Lodgings programme it accommodates up to 26 people a night placed in caring local homes where selected and trained people can give local young people at risk role modelsuntitled that will hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives.
Also the YMCA is active through its Schools work across the Borough and focussed on working with young people at risk of exclusion. 
YMCA Training, an affiliated part of the YMCA Movement, continues to provide high quality vocational training to hundreds of young people from its premises in Alpha Road and other locations.
The YMCA is pleased to work with all people regardless of religious affiliation and of all faiths and those who have none. Its staff are drawn from a wide cross section of humankind who each have their own distinctive contribution to make.