June 4, 2015
Over a hundred people regularly give of their time and skills to support the work of the Cardinal Hume Centre in London. Nationally, 23 million people volunteer, and 1-7 June is time to celebrate their hard work in National Volunteer Week. Caroline is a trustee of the Cardinal Hume Centre, a voluntary role.
As a Trustee of the Centre, I help to steer the organisation's strategy. Why with the Centre? I am very drawn to the Benedictine ethos of hospitality and the work the Centre does bears this out in a real and tangible way. As a Catholic, it is important for me to live out my social justice responsibilities, and volunteering for the Centre allows me to do this. I don't have lots of money to give, but I can give my time and skills.
Throughout my life I have had support from lots of people and this has helped me to deal with my disability and with other challenges I have faced and continue to face. I feel passionately that people deserve support, and I know that not everyone is able to find this from their family.
In my role, the most powerful moments are the times that we hear from clients. It helps me ground my thinking in people's lives and not get too caught up in the processes and systems. I think the next few years will become more difficult, as austerity bites even further. I am proud that the Centre is in a strong position to respond to emerging needs and provide a stable presence for clients as things develop.
In the last year alone, sixty-nine new volunteers have begun at the Centre, with people teaching English and computer skills, giving support to the duty office in the hostel for homeless young people, staffing the welcome desk in the advice and assessment centre, keeping the Centre's gardens in bloom, and working in its charity shop.