Marcus Jones MP – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) has visited YMCA Birmingham’s flagship accommodation scheme, The Chris Bryant Centre in Erdington. The Minister who is responsible for local government policy including adult social care and tackling homelessness met with YMCA staff and residents to talk about their shared vision.
The Minister followed in the footsteps of royalty (Princess Anne’s visit in May 2016), having coffee in the site’s brand new coffee shop, Eden, enjoying a tour of The Orchard (including viewing one of the independent-living flats) as well as discussing youth issues with key support staff.
During his time at the organisation Mr Jones was told about the excellent services provided by YMCA Birmingham to young people, including a first-hand account of the experience from one of the young person’s charity’s residents, Chanelle Peart.
Alan Fraser CEO of YMCA Birmingham said, “It was a pleasure to welcome Marcus to The Chris Bryant Centre and show him all of the great work that we do. It was good to be able to discuss the future funding of supported housing directly with a government Minister. We were encouraged that he was aware of the challenges that schemes like The Orchard face and keen to stress the government’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in our society.”
Chanelle presented him with a copy of a report on the future funding of supported housing commissioned by YMCA England setting out recommendations on the issue. This was based on research undertaken at YMCAs across the country.
YMCA is keen to ensure that funding for schemes such as The Orchard is not cut as a result of the government’s desire to reduce expenditure on Housing Benefit and has set out a list of recommendations that it believes can protect young people, whilst also tackling abuse of the system by private landlords. (A full break down of all the YMCA recommendations can be found here)