Tuesday, 31 May 2011

25 Years of Cardinal Hume Centre

Sarah, another success for the Cardinal Hume Centre
The Cardinal Hume Centre is this year celebrating 25 successful years of enabling homeless young people and local families to turn their lives around and build better futures.

The Centre was set up in 1986 by Cardinal Basil Hume in response to seeing young homeless people sleeping on the streets around the Cathedral. Today that legacy lives on and the Centre reaches out to some of the most marginalised people in society - young homeless people, families living in overcrowded accommodation, asylum seekers, recovering addicts and the unemployed. At its heart is the Benedictine ethos that all are welcome.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Patron of the Centre today said: “The important thing about the Cardinal Hume Centre first of all, is its presence as somewhere for people to go. Then, once they’re there, it’s the quality of what happens inside, and it’s not just the professional quality, but it’s the spirit, the ethos in which that service is delivered, inspired by Cardinal Hume, by his profound sense of Christian service.

“The breadth of services offered by the Cardinal Hume Centre is clearly important today because in this part of London, there are great contrasts. On the one hand there are busy offices and on the other there are very poor families and immigrant families living in the area. There are also local families under great pressure and it’s marvellous indeed that the Cardinal Hume Centre responds to the need that is around it and offers help.”

On one site in Westminster the Centre provides job skills training and advice; IT, literacy and English language classes; parenting and life skills lessons; and immigration and debt counselling. It also provides a comprehensive mentoring service – staffed largely by volunteers – who help some of its 1000 plus clients on their road to independence.

The Centre keeps its commitment to young people and has a 32 bedroom hostel for 16 to 21 year olds and an eight bed hostel for people in recovery from substance misuse. There is a one year limit on staying in the hostels, as the emphasis is very much on supporting residents to build an independent, fulfilling future for themselves. While in the hostels – which are similar to university halls of residence – the young people attend college or work in preparation for independent living.

“When working with young people, staff at the Centre spot neglected talent, they spot talent that seems to have no hope and translate something that is a frustrated, no hope youngster into somebody who slowly grows in confidence, slowly is able to speak, express themselves, find and develop their talents and then become a contributor to society. That’s the appeal of the Cardinal Hume Centre and I’m sure there are many people out there who recognise the importance of young talent today and making the most of their future”, added Archbishop Nichols.

Chief Executive of the Centre, Cathy Corcoran said: “Our emphasis is on enabling the people we work with to live dignified and fulfilling lives. In the current harsh, economic climate it is even more important to equip people with the means to help themselves as well as supporting them through a time of transition. As the Government cuts begin to bite we will undoubtedly begin to see more and more young people and families in need. We are prepared to face this challenge and will do everything we can to continue the work the Cardinal started a quarter of a century ago”.

The picture shows Sarah who came to the Cardinal Hume Centre after becoming homeless. She's now at college studying and looking forward to a brighter future.  You can hear Sarah's story on the Cardinal Hume website www.cardinalhumecentre.org.uk

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