It may be one of the richest boroughs in London, but Westminster has pockets of extreme deprivation and poverty, with high levels of child poverty and a significant housing shortage.
Right at its heart is the Cardinal Hume Centre, offering a lifeline to individuals and families of all ages from all backgrounds as they look to build a brighter future.
A £13,000 grant from Allchurches Trust has helped the Cardinal Hume Centre to make its dream of a £1million refurbishment a reality, enabling it to support the increasing number of people who come there to gain the skills they need to overcome poverty and homelessness and fulfil their potential.
A hostel and five self-contained flats enables the centre to put a roof over the heads of 16 to 24-year-olds at risk of homelessness, including those coming out of foster care and unaccompanied asylum seekers, while giving them high level support with a focus on education, training and employment.
The centre also runs language classes, job clubs, homework support sessions and offers housing and benefits advice and immigration representation. It is fulfilling a very real need and demand for its services is growing, with 1370 new people accessing the centre in 2017.
Helen, Cardinal Hume Centre client says:
“I lost my job and my home. For weeks I was homeless, until a kindly passer-by referred me to a women’s hostel and it was right across the road from the Cardinal Hume Centre. The Centre became my lifeline. I would go there to use their computer room to search for work, I was able to get benefits advice and when I was really struggling to make ends meet they made sure I had food and toiletries.”
This fresh new, welcoming facility has recently opened its doors to the community, although the refurbishment was carefully planned to ensure that services never had to stop.
It includes a new family centre and outside play area, improved training facilities with a new IT room and dedicated employment support area, new meeting rooms and other private spaces, as well as improved access for all.
You can find out more about the work of the centre and read the stories of some of the clients it has supported on their website.