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Helping the Homeless into Employment

Unemployment, and the barriers towards being employed, are a major stumbling block when it comes to fighting homelessness. This is something which the homeless have to deal with constantly, not just due to the increased unemployment levels which Covid-19 has unfortunately caused in the UK, and world-wide.

The Passage?s Client Development team provide clients with life skills to help them to end their homelessness by returning to work. Support includes computer training, literacy and numeracy classes, help with CV’s and finding jobs, and financial and welfare rights advice. When someone sleeping rough finds work, to ensure that tiredness or ill-health does not lead to them losing the job, The Passage provides funding for accommodation, travel and sustenance until they are paid.

Many of the people who arrive at The Passage Resource Centre identify themselves as willing to work in their initial assessments. Not only is the overall percentage of people expressing interest to work higher, but the percentage of people presenting at our Charity’s services with past employment history has also increased in the past year.

Employment is a key route out of homelessness ? our clients desperately want to change their situations. They do not want to be living on the streets or insecurely housed. The role of The Passage is to remove any obstacle to finding and sustaining work that our clients may face such as:

  • Lack of confidence ? which can be vastly improved with training and encouragement
  • No money or clothing for interviews – we provide funding for travel and smart,?suitable work attire from our clothing store
  • No bank account as a result of debt or debt on their bank account – our Money Advice worker will liaise with the bank or debtor to agree a managable payment plan
  • Poor computer skills ? one-to-one and group IT training sessions are regularly delivered in the Resource Centre
  • Tiredness or poor health as a result of sleeping rough or in night shelters ? clients will be referred to The Passage Health team (which includes Mental Health and Substance Abuse specialists as well as NHS Nurses) and when in work, they will have funding for a room in a B&B until they receive their first pay packet and can move somewhere longer term
  • A long gap in employment history or a criminal record ? we will help clients to address and explain this in interviews
  • Outdated qualifications ? we facilitate various training schemes such as Bounceback to refresh clients? knowledge
  • Not having the necessary immigration status to be eligible for work ? our Immigration Solicitor and EUSS team will support clients to obtain the correct status and papers
  • Onward support – The Passage operates a mentoring service, pairing a client with someone in a skilled job who can offer support and advice to help manage the stress and complexity of returning to a working life

No matter how difficult the challenges we face, we strive to obtain the best outcomes for our homeless clients. This is why all the profits from bookings at Cathedral View go back into our charity, to fund these life changing services.

Credit: Emily Richmond, Corporate Partnerships Manager

Meet The Staff

Here at Cathedral View, our staff are the heartbeat of all we do and none more so than Walter Barona, our facilities assistant who is implementing extra measures in the current challenging times. 

How did you get to work at Cathedral View, what’s your career?

I was hired by The Passage as a Cleaning Coordinator 7 years ago. When that role no longer existed, I became part of the Facilities Department. Here I am responsible for managing a number of our external contractors including cleaning, waste, plumbers, electricians and special projects.

How has your role changed in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?

It has changed a lot and we are having to react and adapt daily. At the start of the pandemic, the facilities team had to be kept fully up to date with news of any staff members showing symptoms. For those that were, the cleaning teams had to ensure all the areas that the member of staff had been in contact with were fully disinfected. The key here was up to date communication in order to manage this.

Alongside this, there was extra disinfecting in areas of higher footfall such as the main entrance area with a particular focus on doors, handles etc. 

We have also turned six of our meeting rooms into bedrooms for Passage staff members who couldn?t go home due to their family members being classed as high risk.

As a team, we?re constantly reacting to the needs to protect our clients and our staff. 

What do you like about your role?

The most enjoyable parts of my role are to make people feel welcomed. The first impression is vital. I genuinely believe that smiling is the best way to break the ice. 

What’s the secret to being the best facility assistant?

I don’t know if I’m the best facility assistant, but I DO know if someone requires my help, I will help out as soon as possible.

What would you say is your greatest life learning so far?

I learnt to empathise with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Please tell us about your education and how your childhood was in South America, what are the big differences with London?

I studied Accountancy back home. I was born in Ecuador, in a city called Ambato, commonly known as the land of bread, flowers and fruits.

I grew up in the middle of the Andes’ mountains, eating healthy, climbing trees, dancing salsa and playing football all in dreamy weather. I don’t see any differences between London and Ecuador, nothing at all…perhaps the weather?

The Heart of Victoria

Cathedral View is located in the beautiful St Vincent?s building a stone?s throw away from Victoria station, the gorgeous Palace Theatre (home of Hamilton) and the new shopping centre, Cardinal Place, and is the perfect location to hold your event.

The beating heart of the area has to be Victoria station which was built in 1860 and is a mixture of two original stations (serving Brighton and Chatham respectively). It is the second largest transport hub in the capital and services on average 207,000 people a day and is SO easy to get to from all around London, Sussex, Gatwick Airport and more, so if your event is international, we can cater!

Our venue is great for companies who conduct their business all over the UK. Some of our regular clients, SR Supply Chain from Preston, and Vulcan Fire Training from Warrington, both based in the North of England, love our venue for its great transport links and selection of nearby hotels.

What?s also great is that recently the Victoria tube has gone 24hrs on a weekend so if you?d like to party the night away after your event, you totally can.

We hear from our clients time and time again how great our venue?s location is and how amazing it is to have somewhere filled with peace and tranquility in this vibrant area that?s bustling with people. There?s something very calming about watching the world go by from our relaxing roof top.

What has been so great is that local businesses who have made Victoria their home are holding regular events with us including John Lewis and the Catholic Medical Association. But we would love to work with more people from outside the area ? especially as the venue is so accessible.

Victoria itself has definitely changed, for the better. The station has had a full overhaul and is now completely step-free, the theatre which has been a resident since 1832 is the home to the biggest show of the decade seeing people from far and wide come to the area and the Apollo over the road is the home of the hugely successful, Wicked.

The new shopping centre is filled with restaurants, department stores and high-end boutiques, but the Victoria of old stands proudly side by side with the beautiful Westminster Cathedral a must-see (especially from our roof top!).

As the house prices continue to rise and the area becomes more desirable, the work of The Passage is consistent, dedicated to helping people on the streets and ensuring they have a safe place to be.

The work of St Vincent?s can be found on our blog and its fantastic history, but we are so proud of the work we undertake now led by our patron HRH, Prince William. Cathedral View continues to work to provide people with fantastic locations for events and ensure their events are memorable with all profit going back to The Passage.

So, if you are looking for a space to hold an event, party, workshop, away day or drinks ? do come and pay us a visit and see the area for yourself. 

Why It Pays To Be Socially Conscious

In this new decade, many of the big businesses and brands are listing their social conscience as a big focus point and those that aren?t are getting left behind. 

More so than ever, staff wellbeing, environmental responsibility and giving back to community are top of the agendas for the big names in business. 

It?s not enough anymore to just be mindful and have good values ? staff, partners and clients all demand that the people they are working with and for are demonstrating good vision and ethics continuously.  

There is a demand from employees (present and prospective) for the companies they work for to be leading lights in terms of their social conscience ? especially from the millennial generation – and for those that are not, they are risking losing potentially amazing staff and having work quality suffer. 

The awareness of the issues in our world such as climate change, the homeless crisis, the poverty crisis and environmental issues and being seen to be acting in some way to help are attractive qualities and showcase brands and businesses that are aware of the world around them and want to positively contribute where they can. 

Here at Cathedral View, the fact that ALL profit from our events go directly to The Passage charity is an appealing one as for a lot of businesses, their social conscience is strong, but they can be unsure of how to channel it and how to help the most. 

The various teams and individuals we host all get a sense of pride from the fact that they are contributing and helping in some way which for us is a win/win as we get to directly help the homeless crisis as well as work with fantastic people who share our values we put on a wonderful event for them. 

More than ever, we are seeing giving back in a lot of brands? offers and when there isn?t a charitable arm or a mention of how they directly tackle climate or environmental issues, it now seems odd ? which is a great thing. 

Of course, there is more that can be done. And the big brand leaders could definitely do more to show the way and lead from the front but it?s hugely encouraging that businesses, large and small, are very aware of their social conscience, how they are perceived due to it and how they can use it to attract and retain great people.  

Supplier Focus: Eden Caterers

Each month, we will be focusing on one of our wonderful suppliers that bring the magic to our variety of events at Cathedral View. This month, it?s the fab Eden Caterers. 

We are happy to say that we use Eden Caterers nearly every day at Cathedral View and they are always our go-to for food to cater for events, conferences, workshops and parties. We love them for a number of reasons: 

  • They fact that their food is delicious helps! We love their offer and their varying menu ideas to suite all tastes and events.?They have a wide choice of menus; an increased vegan range and all menus can be made gluten free. On top of this, all meat, apart from chicken, is halal.?
  • Nothing is too much for them and even with the trickiest requests, they always find a solution.?
  • They are regarded as one of the UK?s most sustainable caterers which is music to our ears being a socially conscious events space. Since their incarnation in 1993, Eden has put sustainability at the top of its list and pride itself on using fresh UK produce, free range meat and poultry and sustainably sourced fish. To cement this, they have been awarded a 3-star rating (the highest you can get) from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.??
  • The packaging they use to keep food fresh looks like plastic but is actually made from corn! So it basically just decomposes and turns into starch!
  • They are reliable, nice and trustworthy. Being nice goes a long way and we have had nothing but great experiences working with Eden. They understand what Cathedral View and The Passage is about and our values and work in accordance with them and we have only heard glowing reviews from our customers.  
  • They work with some amazing brands. Do check out their website: https://www.edencaterers.london and the brands and organisations they work with ? they pride themselves on catering for everything from a 15 people board meeting to a 1000 head sit down dinner and do everything with the same level of quality and service.  
  • They?re local! Eden are based in Waterloo so it?s perfect for us here in the heart of Victoria.  

Meet The Team

Here at Cathedral View we have a dedicated team that bring events to life all year round in our fantastic conference rooms and beautiful roof top terrace. 

Not only do they go above and beyond to ensure all our clients are happy and they have a hugely successful event, they are dedicated to showcasing the wonderful spaces we have here as well as passionately supporting The Passage and all the fantastic work this charity does. 

In the first of our series of Meet The Team, we?d love to introduce you to a new member of the team, Nicky Rowe.

Nicky is no stranger to The Passage and Cathedral View as Nicky started as a volunteer receptionist for The Passage in January this year. Nicky was blown away with the compassion, commitment and overall loveliness of the people she came into contact with so when a role became available in the events team, Nicky jumped at the chance to go for it and we?re so glad she did!

Nicky now works with Thomasina is the events team as venue assistant and works on the wonderful events hosted at Cathedral View as well as marketing and showcasing the spaces to potential clients. 

Before working with us, Nicky was an events co-ordinator and a Visiting Tailor so brought with her a wealth of events organising experience.

Great to have you here Nicky! 

If you have an events enquiry, do drop Nicky a line at: [email protected]

What Events Organisers Look For

Here at Cathedral View, we host a variety of events for a number of clients from all sectors. We often deal with the head of events / operations to finalise bringing their vision to life in our beautiful event spaces ? either our meeting and conference rooms or our picturesque roof top terrace ? to ensure they have the best event possible.

We asked the head of operations at a leading brand what they look for in a great venue space and we?re very happy to say that Cathedral View ticks most of these boxes! 

What factors do you consider when looking for a venue? 

Well located for transport links for delegates ? there?s nothing worse than a lost attendee! 

Easy access (loading bays for suppliers) as it can be really stressful when there?s not an area to unload. 

We try to find unique spaces, but it?s not always possible with the events we are putting on as we need the amount space to take dominance over the individuality of a venue, so we have quite a strict criteria to fit. 

How do you measure event success?

For most events we measure the success of the event through the NPS result from delegate surveys (only larger events would do this I imagine) as then we can really gauge the enjoyment, ease and overall satisfaction. 

For smaller events it?s about how much the people their enjoyed themselves and that they remember the event and how it made them feel. 

Another big factor is if the purpose of the event was met, did you get everything you want out of it, did you get everything across that you wanted to get across, did you raise the money you wanted to raise, etc? Setting clear event objectives and measuring them after the event for ROI is hugely important.?

An event in full flow on our roof!

How do you keep your events budget on track? 

There is a lot of negotiation with suppliers to get the best price possible as well as constantly reviewing options and suppliers to find a compromise that works for the budget as well as the event. It?s all about negotiation and making sure you have a clear and realistic budget and sticking to it. 

Tips for running the perfect event. 

Preparation is key ? plan, plan and plan. There?s never too much over-planning! 

Building strong relationships with the suppliers and all those involved in the running of the event as once you have your go-to network, things are so much easier and you understand how each other works and what the needs are from both sides which always makes for a successful event. 

Remembering that it?s an event; things will go wrong, so not letting those last-minute hiccups make you stressed. It?s very rare that everything will go to plan but ensure that the big things are always seamless and if a small thing goes wrong it?s not that big a deal. 

Why Challenge Events Work So Well

Most of us will have sponsored someone recently ? maybe for the marathon or a local charity fundraiser. Here at Cathedral View we have a big focus on Challenge Events and promoting the great people who are challenging themselves to raise money for The Passage. But what is the appeal for challenge events, for the participant and the supporter?

Real blood, sweat and tears are shed

Instead of someone rattling a tin asking you for money, when someone really puts themselves through it for a good cause, it is hugely admirable. It?s like the guilt we feel when watching the marathon from the sofa and the emotional investment we experience when watching it. Knowing that someone has taken themselves out of their comfort zone and put themselves through the wringer all for the sake of a good cause definitely plays on the heartstrings and a generates a lot of attention and support. When you think back to David Walliams swimming the Thames or Tess and Claudia?s 24hr dance off for Comic Relief, the effort and sacrifice was evident to see, and people respond very well to that and often dig deep.

The impact on the cause

Often challenge events gain more notoriety, traction and admirability which in turn can lead to more money being raised. The Passage recently took part in the Walk the World event organized by Informa, which saw 900 people walking across London. This gained lots of noise and donations (thank you!) as it was an event and showed real people outside their comfort zone and going that extra mile (literally!) for a good cause.

Often the challenges are hugely awe inspiring

Each year the challenges get more and more outside the box and people are pushing their boundaries more than ever. Instead of the old school fun run or fancy-dress shindig, there are some hugely ambitious challenges out there. Swimming 10k open air, an amazon jungle survival challenge, a quadrathon (who even knew that was a thing!), abseils, sky dives, night walks, zip wires ? we could go on. It seems that people are pushing themselves more than ever all for a good cause. It?s the psychological responsibility that goes with committing to such challenges as once it?s out there, and you?re doing it for charity ? it?s very hard to go back. Maybe that helps the participant get through it in the first place? A sense of inclusion, involvement and doing a good thing We think for all involved from each side ? the participant and the donator, there is a real feel good factor associated with doing something good. There?s nothing better in fact. So, when people sign up to help us and raise money for The Passage, it?s really great seeing the joy it gives them too and the enthusiasm each donation gives. Are you interested in possibly doing a challenge event to raise money for The Passage? If so, get in touch!

Cathedral View Events

Here at Cathedral View we know the power of a good event. We host a number of events and activities throughout the year using our two conference rooms and our magical roof top garden.

We pride ourselves on the fact that all profit we make from our events goes straight back to The Passage and that we pull out all the stops to deliver a memorable event and bring our clients? visions to life.?

Here are a few of our tips and insight in order to deliver a truly memorable event.

Have an easy-to-reach location

Luckily for us, we are a stones-throw away from Victoria station which allows us to host delegates from all over London and the south coast. Location can be everything with events as needing to ensure people can get there and leave easily is hugely appealing. As well as this, ensuring that your clients have easy access (eg, loading bay, separate entrance, lift etc) is vital as it ensures their experience is as easy as possible.?

Our wonderful Roof Top garden, a stones throw away from Victoria.

Prepare and prepare again

It might be stating the obvious, but preparation really is key as well as building and maintaining strong relationships with suppliers. As with anything, no matter how much you prepare, something can ? and usually will! ? go wrong. This happens but it?s how you deal with it that matters. We ensure that our team is trained for most eventualities and that they react is a calm and collected way to find alternative solutions.?

The gorgeous food available at one of our events.

Keep your eye on budget

Everybody can get a tad giddy when it comes to throwing everything at an event, but the best events are the ones that are planned, strategized and budgeted fully and these guidelines are adhered to. We work with our delegates to ensure budgets are kept to and always manage expectations. 

Offer an element of magic

When we all think of a memorable event that we attended ? there is usually something specific we remember. Whether that be the food, drink, entertainment, the dressing of the space or the music that was played. Creating a bit of memorable magic is key and leave people something to smile about the next day. Here at Cathedral View a lot of our magic comes from the breath-taking view on our roof top as well as the layout of the space. We never tire of the reaction we get up there!?

Celebrate and learn from the success

Even though we host a large number of events, we are always growing and making our events better and better. We always follow up with our clients and ascertain if the event objectives were met, if the people that attended enjoyed the event and took value from it and whether their messages were given, and outcome met (eg, money raised). For larger events, we send out delegate surveys in order to get a fully rounded level of feedback that we input to our teams to offer insight and learnings for future events.?

Could we help you run an event? Please do get in touch to chat more and book your free tour!

St Vincent?s In The 21st Century

This remarkable building has gone from strength to strength since the millennium, and has introduced an annual fundraising concert, a high-level refurbishment and, most importantly, helped more than 100,000 people.?

Here?s our story from 2000.??

2000:?

A new and improved hostel, Passage House, opened.

2001:?

The Mentoring Scheme was introduced. The aim of the scheme was to help clients maintain a development in their life, such as a job or flat, by providing them with someone to talk to when things were going well and, more importantly, when they were not. Barclays and John Lewiscontinue to support the mentorship scheme. 

2003:?

Montfort House was acquired and remains in use today. Montfort House consists of 16 self-contained flats supported by three staff, providing accommodation and support for entrenched rough sleepers.

2004:

The first ?Night Under the Stars? event, the annual fundraising concert, took place (and is still an annual event to this day!).

The poster for 2018’s Night Under The Stars fundraising concert.

2005:?

The Jubilee Anniversary of The Passage was commemorated with a series of events, including a concert by Westminster Cathedral Choir, a garden party at Westminster Abbey, and a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Cathedral.

February 2005:?

St Vincent?s Centre is purchased from the Sisters using a statutory grant of ?5 million.

The Values of The Passage.

January 2009:?

The Client Volunteer Scheme was initiated, enabling clients to use the skills acquired from The Passage to help other clients. This has since become a model of good practice across the sector.

2010:?

The 30-year anniversary of The Passage.?

Since 1980, 100,000 people had been helped, 3,000,000 meals had been served, and 36,000 people had received the help of the health team

The canteen in full flow serving clients at The Passage in the 80s.

2011:?

Streetlink (Outreach) Team begin working 365 days a year. The No Second Night Out initiativebegan, aiming to get new rough sleepers off the streets so that they wouldn?t have to sleep outside for a second night. Passage House was converted into a 35-bed hostel with an innovative five-bed adult foyer. 

2012:?

The Personalisation Pilotand Housing Firstschemes are launched.

2013:?

All services now operated seven days a week. The planning application for the refurbishment of St Vincent?s Centre was approved. The staff-to-volunteer ratio reached 1:4 (100:400). Before You Go– a homelessness prevention project – begins.

2014:?

The Home for Goodproject begins, aiming to keep resettled clients from returning to the streets. Passage House receives straight ?A?s in its review by Supporting People. The innovative Social Impact Bondis the first ever payment-by-results homelessness initiative. 

2016:?

Nearly two years? building work at St Vincent?s Centre was finished. The refurbishments created a building that was of as high a quality as the services themselves, allowing an abundance of new opportunities and services. 

The centre was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Cambridge. Immigration Advice was introduced, and Client Ambassadors began assisting other agencies in a voluntary capacity 

2017:?

The complete refurbishment of St Vincent?s Centre enabled The Passage to create?Cathedral View, a beautiful and unique venue space that will provide further sustainable income for The Passage?s vital services.?

The beautiful Roof Top Garden designed and landscaped by?Chelsea Flower Show?seven-times gold medal winner and?BBC?presenter,?Adam Frost.?

2019:

The Duke of Cambridge became The Passage’s Royal Patron. The Duke has visited The Passage and Cathedral View many times.

The Duke volunteers in The Passage kitchen and meets clients taking part in our Homelessness Prevention Project


“It has been a delight to use the Marillac room for the last four days. Thanks especially to your team for looking after us. I hope and expect to use Cathedral View for more training courses in the future.”

Mark Wilcock, Zomalex

“Everyone loved the space - it was perfect for the workshop”

Helen James, John Lewis 2000px-John_Lewis_Logo.svg

“Thank you most sincerely for supporting the Catholic Medical Association?s Mass and Brunch event. It was thought to be a great success by all who attended. All those present were extremely impressed by the work of The Passage”

Catholic Medical Association CMA Logo
For more information & booking enquiries

020 7592 1876
[email protected]