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3 October 2013

Tuesday, The Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster visited The Cardinal Hume Centre in London’s Victoria, where he performed a blessing on the newly opened Basil Hume House, designed to help transition young homeless Londoners to independent living.

The House comprises five new flats on Horseferry Road, Victoria which aim to provide a home for young people who have successfully turned their lives around and offer a safe place to test out independent living. The units will offer young people the opportunity to build a stable employment history or attend college and increase the likelihood of sustaining a private tenancy in the future.

Land Securities supported the scheme from its initiation with a £20,000 donation and time from staff volunteers who helped with renovation work including painting and gardening. As a result of the donation, one of the units has been attributed to Land Securities and named ‘Victoria’. This project is just one part of the mission to make Victoria a better place for all Londoners to live and work in.

Sara Batista, [19], is the first young person to move into the ‘Victoria’ flat. She said: “I wanted to move on from my previous hostel, because I am very self-sufficient now, and wanted a bit more independence, but still be able to talk to someone if I’ve had a bad day.”

Land Securities is also working with the Cardinal Hume Centre to find work for its residents on construction sites in Victoria, as part of its unique Employment Strategy which ring-fences jobs and opens up routes for the long-term unemployed into careers in construction and other sectors such as retail and facilities management.

Archbishop Nichols said, “Since its foundation in 1986 the Cardinal Hume Centre has helped many young and vulnerable people. Beyond offering shelter alone, the Centre provides training of various kinds, medical help, childcare assistance, and friendship.”

Debbie Akehurst, Head of Corporate Responsibility for Land Securities London, said: “It’s brilliant to see Basil Hume House officially opened and blessed by the Archbishop here today. We’re incredibly proud of all our staff who volunteered to landscape the site; their work reflects Land Securities’ wider commitment to ensure that the transformation of Victoria benefits a wide range of people, whatever their circumstances.”