The Centre's Benedictine ethos is about welcoming all people as Christ'; offering sanctuary and hospitality to people from all backgrounds. As volunteers for the Advice and Assessment Team at the Cardinal Hume Centre, Kathy and Evelyn's roles are about making sure people feel comfortable when they first approach the Centre for help.
They have both volunteered at the Centre for over ten months now; and being on the frontline of the services here has really opened their eyes to the many problems confronting vulnerable people. They shared their thoughts with us about their time at the Cardinal Hume Centre: Seeing the amount of young homeless men, people who are coming in off the streets for Foodbank vouchers and the number of people who are looking for immigration advice has been really shocking.
When you're here for a whole day with people coming in through those doors from 9am " 4.30pm and everybody has a problem, it's a real eye-opener. Whether it's no home, no job, no money or no food, it's shocking how difficult life is for people. And things are getting more difficult. People are vulnerable and desperate for help.
The hardest thing about our roles is managing expectations. The Centre has such a wonderful reputation for helping people in need; but more often than not there is no quick fix to the problems people are facing. Our roles demand a sensitive, caring and respectful approach when helping people register for the services at the Centre. Someone may come in requesting housing advice and we may find that they have employment needs as well. The great thing about the Centre is that people can access a range of support and advice all in one place.
The work the Centre does is just tremendous. Without it there would be more people on the streets, more families' homeless, more unemployed, more people in detention centres. The work the Centre does is an essential part of life now, and it has been woven into the fabric of this community. In the ten months since we've been here we have seen such a great commitment from all the staff at the Centre to turning lives around. There's a great friendliness and camaraderie; and as volunteers we feel we are contributing in a small way to making a difference in people's lives.
Kathy and Evelyn support the Centre through giving their time; because of their support the staff at the Centre have more time to focus on working one-to-one with individuals in need. Volunteering is a fantastic way to support the Centre, a list of all our current vacancies can be found on our volunteering page.