On Thursday 16 June 2011, the Cardinal Hume Centre marked its 25th anniversary with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols Patron of the Cardinal Hume Centre..
The Mass was celebrated at the Sacred Heart Church Westminster and attended hundreds of supporters - among them nine members of the Cardinal's family.
The Mass was followed by the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by Archbishop Nichols and the Cardinal Hume Centre's Chief Executive, Cathy Corcoran. The plaque was inscribed with the words of a saying by Cardinal Hume 'Each person matters; no human life is redundant'.
Chief Executive of the Centre, Cathy Corcoran, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Cardinal’s family to see how his vision and legacy lives on and is still providing vital services to young homeless people and the wider community in Westminster. There is much talk of the Big Society but the Centre has been successfully working in a focused and localized way for a quarter of a century.
“We are very proud that it has enabled thousands of people to get their lives back on track and equipped them with the skills they need to get into the workplace and enjoy a sustainable and dignified future. As the Government cuts begin to bite we will undoubtedly see more young people and families pushed into poverty and we are determined to continue our work and reach out to more people in need.”
About the Cardinal Hume Centre
The Cardinal Hume Centre was set up in 1986 by Cardinal Basil Hume in response to seeing young homeless people sleeping on the streets around Westminster Cathedral.
Today that legacy lives on and the Cardinal Hume 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 Cardinal Hume Centre is unusual because it offers a wide variety of services and expertise all on one site. Services include: accommodation, housing, money management and benefits advice, legal advice, a GP’s surgery, English language classes, IT courses, employment advice and placements, a family centre and a host of other opportunities and support for people wanting to move out of poverty and into employment.
60% of the charity’s income comes from voluntary donations. The rest comes from statutory sources. The Centre needs to raise £1.4 million in voluntary income every year and 87 pence of every pound goes directly to service delivery.
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 someone who 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”.