Henriette and Judy

Henriette arrived at the Centre, tearful, hungry and exhausted from spending years sofa surfing.
Henriette had arrived in the UK after fleeing the Congo. Her lack of English meant she was unable to complete any immigration forms, and was unable to access the support she was entitled to. Staff at the Centre built a range of support around Henriette’s needs. Henriette started to learn English and accessed our immigration advice to formalise her status. “I really enjoyed my classes. I didn’t know anything before, but now I am reading and writing. I can even go to the bank and speak for myself,” said Henriette

The Centre also offered her the opportunity to have a mentor. Mentors offer clients organised, but informal one-to-one support to help them achieve their goals. Henriette was matched with Judy, a parishioner from Westminster Cathedral who wanted to do something in her spare time to help.

“We met for an hour once a week which was what she wanted and I helped with her English and with helping her set goals. I definitely think she benefited from the mentoring but I think her progress was mainly down to her,” said Judy. “The support at the Centre is marvellous. Henriette really got herself on her feet. Her improved English meant that she had the confidence to start applying for jobsas well as to go to college”.

Judy gave Henriette the extra support she needed with her college application, and helped her to find a job in a factory packing food. Henriette has recently completed the foundation year in hair and beauty, and is going to go back to college in September.

“I really love it, I feel quite proud. I can even help some of the other students with their forms now,” said Henriette.

As Judy says: “People who come to mentoring want to be helped. It’s just finding the right way for each individual. To see someone get on their feet is marvellous, I just think the whole ethos of the Cardinal Hume Centre is fantastic”


Henriette is just one of many people work who come to the Centre every day, desperate for help. We know that with support from the Centre, people can change their life for the better.

But we can’t do it without you.

Please help to bring hope to people like Henriette, by making a donation to the Centre today: