Olivia Colman and her husband Ed Sinclair say they "could not be prouder" after being named patrons of the Holt Youth Project (HYP).

Hollywood megastar Ms Colman, who grew up in north Norfolk and whose early jobs included waiting tables at the King's Arms in Blakeney, began her patronage by donating a special 'Buddy Bench' to the charity, which had been given to her by Disney.

Ms Colman and Mr Sinclair are among six new patrons welcomed to the HYP, which was founded by Julie Alford and her husband David in 1985 as a "warm, safe environment for young people to meet and socialise together".

Ms Colman said: "All children deserve a childhood - to play, to learn, to be safe.

"It is their right. But all too often it is denied.

"In north Norfolk, Julie and her team at Holt Youth Project are quietly and tirelessly doing incredible work to correct that wrong.

"By channelling extraordinary amounts of energy, love and patience, the HYP offers respite, laughter and companionship - and we have seen with our own eyes how it is genuinely changing children’s lives.

"Every community needs a Julie, and a Holt Youth Project - now more than ever.

"We could not be prouder to lend our support."

Disney gave Ms Colman the bench to mark her role in the film Ron’s Gone Wrong, which was released last year. The bench, which appears in the film, is now a place at the project's centre in Old Station Way where children can sit, share and be comforted by others.

The charity supports more than 200 young people and children every week.

Those the YHP supports include children and young people who find themselves in a caring role in their families; young people unable to access mainstream school because of anxiety; and young men who feel isolated and need a sense of belonging.

Ms Alford said: "We are known as a can-do project, evolving to meet the needs of our community.

"With this help of the generosity from others we can continue our valuable work ensuring we support young people to achieve, whatever their background or need."