Offering a lifeline in the heart of the capital

It may be one of the richest boroughs in London, but Westminster also 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 aim is to move them along the young person’s pathway from complex and multiple needs into medium or low need and, eventually, into private rentals.

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.

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.

These changes mean that over the next three years, the centre will be able to welcome at least 3,300 clients, house at least 200 young people, provide housing and welfare advice and training to more than 60 people per week, help 200 people into work, support 150 people a year with English language improvement, provide counselling to people with mental health problems and take on 400 immigration advice cases.

You can find out more about the work of the centre and read the stories of some of the clients it has supported at www.cardinalhumecentre.org.uk

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