CORNERSTONE Centre is hidden among the streets of Hulme and is an unknown place for most people, but for more than 150 vulnerable and disadvantaged adults it means home.
The centre welcomes people from all backgrounds and operates a policy of non-discrimination, determined to provide a good quality service to everyone and make everyone feel accepted regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, disability, nationality or religious beliefs and also providing special programs and services to everyone.
“We take care of a lot of special people here at Cornerstone and it’s not only street sleepers, but also drug addicts, socially isolated people, humans that were traded in trafficking, refugees, people with mental health issues and many more,” said Julian, a support worker who has been with the centre for a long time.
It doesn’t take long to take a tour of the centre. You walk into this great hall which has a lot of tables on its floor that are surrounded by a lot of faces, all kinds of faces. You can hear a lot of laughter and see a lot of happy and lit up eyes, but there is also some sadness which is impenetrable even behind all that happiness.
“We run programmes to help people out. We have a computer room where we teach them how to operate a computer so that they can apply for benefits and we also have an English class where we teach the refugees how to speak English so that they can communicate, but that’s not all we do. We offer them free eye tests, we have a barber that comes and visits us once a week, we provide them with clothes and many other things,” said Julian shyly smiling,
This amazing work is all due to Sister Lucy and the rest of the wonderful people that work and volunteer at the centre.
Sister Lucy is an amazing woman whose tiny size in appearance is no match for the might of her heart, recently turned 80 years old, but not slowing her down at all. She was walking around the centre with trays of food she’s cooked in her hands, smiling and wishing everyone a good day.
“Everyone here has a story, everyone can teach you something if you have a conversation with them and it is always worth it,” said Julian pointing at the hall.
The centre is open five days a week all year round from 10:30 till 16:00 starting with breakfast, then lunch and finishing the day with a tea and cake.
Eighty five percent of the people that come to Cornerstone to seek solace are men and part of the 15 per cent that are women is 54-year-old Miranda Maynard.
“I’ve come here personally myself for 13 years, because a friend told me about Cornerstone and I have no immediate family, you see, so I was going through my house situation where my son was killed, so this is coming like, you know, home,” said Miranda.
“We’re like one big family really,” says support worker Ann.
Anyone who wants to help the centre achieve their aims to help vulnerable and disadvantaged adults through financial donations, donations of goods or through providing time as one of its volunteer staff by visiting the web page.