On Wednesday 18 September we welcomed Stephen Currid from the Cardinal Hume Centre, Westminster. Stephen gave a thought-provoking talk entitled “A Tale of Two Cities: the city we see and the city we don’t see”. The Cardinal Hume Centre was founded more than 30 years ago and provides a wide range of services to the young, the homeless and families who are in need of help. The Centre provides housing advice; legal support for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants; money management clinics; advisers who help with learning and employment skills; a full GP surgery for homeless people, with a focus on mental health issues; and a family centre which helps families who have been evicted and those living in poverty or overcrowded accommodation. The Centre also has a 32-bed hostel for young people aged between 16 and 24 where they are given the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
Stephen reminded us that, sadly, 37% of London children live in poverty and 45% of them are considered homeless. He went on to say that people from deprived backgrounds are three times more likely to die before they are 25 than those from the most affluent backgrounds. This is linked to housing, neighbourhoods, health inadequacies, nutrition, outdoor space, education, access to activities and the stresses poverty causes families. What young people need in these situations is people in the Centre who listen to them, believe in them and support them.
Cardinal Hume founded the Centre to help those in need. As Jesus says in Matthew’s Gospel, “In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me,” and also that “Each person matters, no life is redundant”.
This year our Sacred Heart Goal is Social Awareness and we will be challenged to take time to serve one another, especially those who need us most. Students will have the opportunity to visit the Centre and work with the residents and staff. Throughout this academic year, our Sunday collection will be donated to the Cardinal Hume Centre to support the great work they do in transforming the lives of young people and families who rely on their guidance and help.
Fr Gerard Devlin, Chaplain