Cathy Corcoran, Director of The Cardinal Hume Centre writes about the centre’s work with homeless young people and badly house families.
The Cardinal Hume Centre
The Cardinal Hume Centre was founded in 1986 in response to the increasingly desperate need of homeless young people and families in crisis. 20 years on we are proud to continue our work with homeless young people, badly housed families and local communities to access accommodation, support, advice, training and education.
There are less people sleeping out on the streets today, but the problem of the ‘hidden homeless’, where young people sleep on friends’ floors and in temporary hostels and families housed in inadequate accommodation continues to grow.
Working with Homeless Young People
The vast majority of the young people who come to the Centre come from broken homes, many having suffered neglect, poverty and abuse, they consequently face a whole range of challenges in turning their lives around. We offer far more than just a roof, through providing a full range of services – accommodation, practical and emotional support, healthcare and counselling, education, employment and training advice all on one site – we help young people to make their own choices, enabling them to find a future they can call their own.
The Centre’s Drop-In offers a lifeline to these young people, many of who have lived rough on the streets and many more who are sleeping on a friend’s sofa. Our 32-bed Hostel for 16 to 21 year olds offers a safe environment and a constructive framework in which to develop confidence and self-esteem, as well as practical skills such as budgeting and cooking. Central to the work in the Hostel is the one to one relationship that our residents have with their Key-Worker throughout their 12 months stay.
After a family breakdown, Sarah spent her childhood being moved from foster home to foster home. Her sense of loss and abandonment led to very disruptive behaviour and her carers found it increasingly difficult to cope with her anger. With no stability or structure in her life, Sarah played truant and spent her days shoplifting. At 16 Sarah was referred to the Centre’s Hostel by Social Services. The Key Worker assigned to work with Sarah, gaining her trust and working through her problems, helped Sarah to deal with her anger and to use her energy more positively. And now Sarah is attending college full-time. She has made friends and for the first time in her life, she is happy, secure and looking forward to a positive future.
Working with Badly Housed Families
Over the years, the Centre has also developed services for local families who are living in temporary and inadequate accommodation, providing a friendly atmosphere where parents can bring their small children to play, and to develop through play. Meanwhile their parents can seek advice and support on a range of issues from benefits to healthcare, from domestic violence to good parenting. As there are crèche places available, many can also attend the education and training courses provided on site. The Family Centre offers a safe haven, where the feeling of isolation, experienced by many of the lone parents is lifted.
The Cardinal Hume Centre
3-7 Arneway Street
T: 020 7222 1602
F: 020 7233 2513
If you run or know of a voluntary or non-governmental run group working in London who would like to tell other Londoners about their work please contact us.