North Staffordshire YMCA to feature in BBC Panorama documentary

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North Staffordshire’s YMCA is to feature on BBC1’s Panorama to show how the centre has coped in a deprived area.

A Panorama team is filming for five weeks to show what goes on at the charity.

After receiving YMCA of the year award 2014, the North Staffordshire facility on Harding Road, Hanley, has been recognised for improvements after a £12 million renovation.

Panorama’s Duncan Staff, a freelance cameraman and journalist, has been impressed with the changes made in such a financially deprived area.

The 49-year-old said: “The documentary will be a fair and accurate representation of the successes and challenges the YMCA faces.”

It aims to document individual life stories and the relationships and support found at the centre.

YMCA residents make their mark on the reception window.

YMCA residents make their mark on the reception window.

Senior documentary producer Margaret Vrublevskis is heading the film team.

Samm Holmes, 46, from Leek, who works at the YMCA, said: “I’ve been on placement here for just over a month.

“I plan to get a summer job here part-time and return to my studies in September.

“I love it here, the atmosphere is homely and you feel like you’re making a difference.

“It’s completely changed my mind on what I want to do with my degree, I’d love to stay here full-time.”

The 98 rooms of accommodation are fully equipped with en suites rather than previously sharing one bathroom between 14 people.

Each room costs £25 a week, which includes two daily meals. Additional flats have been built to support the demand.

Duncan and Margaret said they have been impressed with the motivation of staff and the facilities.

The date for the Panorama show is not yet known but is expected to be over the summer.

(Additional reporting by Laura McCormack)

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