Norwich youth charity, OPEN Youth Trust (OPEN), will help to make their drop-in youth centre more appealing for young people over the next three months after being awarded £10,000 from the Building Connections Fund Youth strand.

The charity, which runs from Norwich City Centre will work with young people to come up with detailed improvements that may include technical updates, redecorating and developing new spaces to help build connections and tackle loneliness.


Work is expected to be completed by March 2019 when OPEN will have undergone redevelopments according to the plans put forward by their Youth Forum, and hope to unveil a new creative writing and media suite. 


Any young people who want to be involved in designing improvements to OPEN should contact OPEN’s Youth Forum at alex.russell@opennorwich.org.uk or write to Youth Forum, c/o Alex Russell, 20 Bank Plain, Norwich, NR2 4SF. 


Funding is being delivered by the Co-op Foundation as part of the Building Connections Fund Youth strand, a partnership with government and the OPEN is one of 145 projects that has received funding today. 


Alex Russell, Volunteer Mentor and staff liaison with OPEN’s Youth Forum, said: “This is an incredible opportunity to not only give young people a voice to share what they want from youth provisions, but to take direct action to make those changes happen. Through working with our youth forum we can ensure OPEN is meeting the needs of young people, and we are sure these changes will encourage new users to see what we have to offer and become part of our community.” 


Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation, said: “Spaces where young people can come together to enjoy shared interests are important for building connections and tackling youth loneliness. By involving young people in improving local spaces, we’re helping to increase their confidence and skills, while also building stronger, co-operative communities. We look forward to seeing the impact this funding has tackling youth loneliness across England.” 


The Building Connections Fund is a partnership between government, Co-op Foundation the Big Lottery Fund to tackle loneliness and improve community connections. Co-op Foundation is delivering grants for all projects supported through the youth-specific strand. 


This builds on funding awarded to more than 120 projects in December that included befriending services, community arts groups and support schemes. 


For more information on the Co-op Foundation, visit www.coopfoundation.org.uk