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London: Providence Row marks 150 years of helping homeless people

l-r: Jo Ansell, Bishop George Stack, The Duke of Norfolk, Simon Bartley

l-r: Jo Ansell, Bishop George Stack, The Duke of Norfolk, Simon Bartley

Providence Row, a homeless charity based in East London, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

To mark the 150 years of service, a Thanksgiving Mass will be held at Westminster Cathedral on 16 June at 5.30pm. The Mass will celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and attended by His Grace the Duke of Norfolk.
 
Providence Row was founded in 1860 by Father Daniel Gilbert and the Sisters of Mercy. Father Gilbert was so moved by the plight of a destitute woman sheltering in a doorway that he enlisted the Sisters’ help and raised funds for the first Providence Row Night Refuge.
 
Since then the East End has changed dramatically but the charity’s mission has remained the same: to help people find their pathway out of homelessness.

Every day up to 200 men and women pass through their doors, some stopping for breakfast and a shower, others coming for advice or to participate in skill-building activities like the employment workshop. 
 
CEO of Providence Row, Jo Ansell, described the charity’s ongoing work: “Providence Row has witnessed so much change over the last 150 years.”

“The charity has responded to the changing social landscape by adapting and developing services which do more than just meet the basic need for food and shelter.”

“We help people to reintegrate back into the community and rebuild their lives. Even in 2010 there is a real need for our organisation and we hold fast to our ethos of helping anyone who is homeless and destitute in east London”.
 
Providence Row is inviting all their supporters to Mass at Westminster Cathedral to help them mark their 150th anniversary.

The Mass is part of a series of events to celebrate the anniversary; future events include a 10k run, an Open Day at the charity’s Dellow Centre and a birthday ball in October.