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Monday, October 24, 2016
Cardinal hosts evening for Catholic Children's Society
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¬†The work of the Catholic Children's Society, was highlighted at a reception in the newly-restored Throne Room at Archbishop's House, Westminster last Thursday, in aid of the St Vincent's Family Centre and the Bishop Harvey Family Service. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who is President of the Society, welcomed guests, who included Bishop Philip Harvey, Mgr Harry Turner and many friends and supporters of the charity. Paying tribute to the Society's work, Cardinal Cormac said: "We all know of the pressures today, which can put intolerable strains on relationships, leading all too often to often to family breakdowns.The resulting practical and emotional consequences can be difficult enough for adults, but are even more harrowing for children. The implications for their future health and happiness are serious. "St Vincent's Family Centre and the Bishop Harvey Family Service work with children, adolescents and families of all races and faiths to relieve some of the pressures that can lead to family breakdown. The proactive assistance that these two centres are able to give, rebuilds the bonds of love and trust and enables families to stay together." The head teacher of St Michael's Girls Catholic Grammar School in Finchley, north London, Mrs Ursula Morrissey, described how helpful she had found the Bishop Harvey Family Service. The centre supports pupils and their families experiencing a range of behavioural and emotional problems - through counselling and psychotherapy. Mrs Morrissey described how one young girl came to the school seven years ago and just sat in the rest room and cried each day. "It transpired that she was being abused at home and suffered from an eating disorder, she said. "After receiving support she gradually overcame her difficulties and left the school with very good exam results. She has now started university." Recently the centre set up a scheme at the school to train Sixth Formers as peer counsellors to support the younger girls. "It's lovely to see them meeting up with the young girls for lunch. We call them our 'guardian angels,' Mrs Morrissey said. Testimony was also given by a London mum who said that several years ago, she had adopted four children with her husband. All went well until the youngsters became teenagers - when some serious problems began to surface. Thanks to working with therapists from the St Vincent's Family Centre, the family are all back on track. She said they were all very grateful to the centre. The director of Westminster's Catholic Children's Society said: "The two services, in offering child psychotherapy and family therapy have at their heart our wish to support family life. And we do this because of the self-evident truth that the best possible way to bring up children is by the loving care of their parents. We recognise and understand the difficulties of this task, made more difficult by the extra external stresses - long hours parent s have to work - for males, the highest in the ET; the particular economic stresses caused by both the lack of affordable housing and its high costs, and, despite the obvious signs of wealth in London, the ever-present problems cause by family poverty, where we have nearly half our children living below the poverty line. This level of poverty is the highest in the country and it is well known that there is a clear link between child poverty and children's poor mental health." He said: "St Vincent's and the Bishop Harvey centre don't provide a 'magic wand' to solve all family problems, but by giving help at the early stages of problem development, and building on a family's internal strengths we have shown we can turn things round." The Society is hoping to realise £250,000 in order to support more families. If would like to know more about their work, or to make an on-line contribution, visit their website at:
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