LAST Sunday and Monday saw Celtic fans report for volunteer duty at the Cardinal Hume Centre in Westminster, London, including staff, volunteers and Trustees from the charitable arm of the club – Celtic FC Foundation.
The centre supports more than 30 homeless young residents at any one time as well as hundreds of others who access day services such as advice, employment and learning, an on-site GP, warm clothing, sleeping blankets and food staples. Duties included sorting food hampers and decorating the hostel for Christmas.
The Christmas Appeal will be supporting food, shelter, events and presents at the centre and continues the relationship we started in 2012 with the Summer Programme for Refugee families.
The cash donation to the Cardinal Hume Centre was supplemented by a Digital Food Bank operated via an Amazon Wish List. Fans from all over London and the South East were able to donate winter necessities such as sleeping blankets and waterproof clothing and hundreds of items have been donated.
London and South East-based fans have been big supporters of the Christmas Appeal and working in partnership with the local supporters’ clubs and the Foundation’s London community partners we have made a number of meaningful impacts this Christmas including the work at the Cardinal Hume Centre.
A total of10 Celtic Supporters’ Clubs in the region has had an allocation of funds to support good causes in their own local community at Christmas.
The Foundation has a longstanding relationship with Poplar Harca Housing Association in Tower Hamlets through the Foundation’s Breaking Barriers programme. This Christmas we will be supporting OAPs in the community as a major donor to the Housing Association’s community lunches programme.
When Brother Walfrid left Glasgow in 1893 he travelled to London and took up a teaching post at St Anne’s Primary, Underwood Road, Whitechapel. There is a St Anne’s Primary on Underwood Road to this very day. We are pleased to link the Christmas Appeal with the school and the roots of our club and following discussions with the Head Teacher we donated £500 to Christmas events for the pupils of St. Anne’s Primary.
Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “It’s at a time like this when you see the real power of Celtic fans coming together to support the communities around Celtic Park and the communities where they themselves live and work. There’s nothing else in sport like this and it’s great to be to be part of it.”
Cathy Corcoran, CEO of the Cardinal Hume Centre, added: “It’s been a real pleasure working with the Celtic team. The scale of financial support for us has been magnificent but we are also delighted with the Foundation’s interest in our work which is very encouraging.
“The Digital Food Bank idea we came up with together enabled us to target the items we were short of or knew we would need in increased supply over Christmas.
“Celtic fans sorted small things too – but which have made a big difference – like we’ve never had a real Christmas tree in the hostel before and fans took the time to hear about these things then help us sort them.”
Tony Hamilton, Celtic FC Foundation’s Chief Executive, added: “This has been an engaged Christmas Appeal at every level – volunteering, events for the most marginalised in society and financial support. I’d like to thank all of our supporters in London for their contributions to this particular part of it.
“A plaque at the Cardinal Hume Centre records the late Basil Hume’s own words ‘Each person matters, no life is redundant.’ Celtic fans all over the world have truly embodied this ethos with their support for Celtic FC Foundation’s Christmas Appeal.”