On the 17th of January, Notre Dame School’s 6th Form chaplaincy team visited the Cardinal Hume Centre in London. The girls were there to donate the items the school’s pupils had collected over the last several weeks and to help out at the centre for the day.

The Cardinal Hume Centre was founded in 1986 by Cardinal Basil Hume. The centre works with homeless young people, badly housed families and others in need, it aims to help people gain essential life skills and gives them the tools to overcome poverty and homelessness. They focus on four main areas: housing, education and skills, income and legal status.

When the Notre Dame girls arrived at the centre, after a warm welcome, they were given a tour around the centre. While being shown around they were told some of the stories of the people that were staying at the centre and how they were being helped. It was very enlightening to learn about some of the circumstances that people have to face, and to be confronted with the reality that homelessness is something that is faced by countless people and that it could happen to anyone. It was also surprising to a lot of the girls to learn that nowadays being homeless isn’t just applicable to those on the streets, some people that are displaced from their homes or lose them stay sleeping at friend’s houses, and so lots of homelessness goes unobserved and hidden to the general public's eye, and yet the Cardinal Hume Centre helps these people turn their lives around, allowing them to gain the skills they need to realise their full potential.

At the end of their day the girls also helped to sort out some of the food and items that had been donated to the centre. One of the girls commented that, “it was extremely satisfying to take some time to help out at the centre and I hope to spend some time during the summer volunteering here.”

By Darya Vandromme, Notre Dame School