Anne, the Princess Royal is to visit Erdington on Wednesday. She is to officially open the final phase in the development of the YMCA, a multi-million-pound development in Birmingham.
Her Royal Highness will visit The Orchard in Reservoir Road, signaling the end of a ten-year project with additions to benefit residents and the local community alike. There’s a new community sports hall, conferencing and training rooms (The Chris Bryant Centre), a new coffee shop (Eden – more than coffee) and 34 new flats in a housing scheme named The Vineyard.
YMCA Birmingham’s CEO Alan Fraser says: “It has taken 10 years to complete this remarkable development and we have had to work hard to overcome many obstacles. A Royal visit to mark the opening feels like a fitting tribute to the dedication of the many people whose hard work has made The Orchard possible. We are honoured and delighted that The Princess Royal has agreed to officially open our new development in Erdington. As well as providing essential help and support for young people who are in need of affordable accommodation, we are also expanding our training and skills network..”
Training manager at YMCA Birmingham, Richard Brookes said: “The YMCA has been well known for providing housing support for vulnerable people which we still do, and I’m proud to say that we have evolved as an organisation.”
He went on to say how proud he is of the organisation for diversifying its income streams to do more for the people it works with: “Over recent years we have had to diversify our income streams as an organisation to ensure that we can continue to provide much needed services to young people within the communities that we work. In order to do this we have a number of social enterprise activities we undertake, and I feel proud and indeed privileged to head up our Training and Conferencing department, using my experience in housing to deliver Chartered Institute of Housing Qualifications and a number of other courses to professionals within both the Housing and third sectors.”
The first phase of the project was initially opened in 2010. It couldn’t have been completed without the funding support and grants from The Homes and Communities Agency, The Garfield Weston, Foundation, The Peter Harrison Foundation, and The Fidelity Trust. Chris Bryant, former Birmingham YMCA chair bequested a large amount to the project as well, along with funds from other trusts endowed to him for its completion.