Celebrating Sheffield’s St Wilfrid’s centre: ‘This place is a lifesaver’

A charity that works with more than 500 homeless and vulnerable adults each year held a special afternoon of celebrations to showcase their achievements.

Monday, 25th March 2019, 3:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 5:55 pm
The St Wilfrid's Centre, on Queens Road, held its 'Afternoon of Celebration' awards with certificates presented by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Coun Tony Downing. Picture: Steve Ellis

Friends and family were present at the awards ceremony at St Wilfrid's Centre on Queens Road, where regulars’ work was put on display.

The event presented the results of a range of activities at the centre including pottery, painting, poetry, photography and woodwork.

A display of photos and a colourful 3D wall hanging were some of the picks of the work on show.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Deputy Lord Mayor Tony Downing presented certificates to more than 30 people.

One client, Mohammed, said taking part in activities at the centre has helped him socialise and build his confidence.

Mohammed said: "I come to the workshop and photography sessions because they make me feel good, I really look forward to them.

"I've never done these things before and I never got any certificates from school."

Mohammed, who has been visiting the centre since 2013, said being able to put certificates on his wall made him feel proud.

He added: "All my brothers go out to work so getting this certificate is great because my family will know that I can do things just like my brothers can.

"I'll have something to show my mum that I'm just as good as they are."

Dominic Maloney, who oversees the personal development programme for clients at the centre, believes celebrating the milestones achieved by clients provides a 'window into the world' of the centre.

He said: "This is such an important part of our clients' journey with us, being able to reflect on what they have done over the year and show their family and friends their achievements.

"For some of our clients, taking part in our activities will be the closest opportunity they've ever had to gain the dignity that comes from effort well spent and goals achieved.

"For many it is a lifeline."

Paul, aged 54, who has been attending the centre for two years, believes it brings people together from all walks of life.

He said: "Everybody's got their own problems and we all help each other to get through them.

"It's a great atmosphere and I'll be proud to see everyone getting awards today.

"This place is a lifesaver for a lot of people."

Volunteer Katie Deedes, who runs the pottery classes at St Wilfrid's, believes the centre offers a variety of skills beyond the practical ones learned in the workshops.

She said: "During our sessions we gain other non-practical skills such as observation, planning and problem solving.

"They are all learned in a calm, therapeutic environment."

The Sheffield day centre first opened in 1990 and is open to homeless, vulnerable or socially excluded adults over 18 years old.

It was established by a group of volunteers and now employs 16 staff, who work alongside more than 140 helpers.

The centre provides a range of more than 35 scheduled activities from Monday to Friday each week. All are free to attend.

Another client, Laura, whose favourite activities are computing and sewing, said St Wilfrid's has improved her social life and happiness.

She said: "I love coming here and meeting friends.

"Everyone is lovely and it's like a big family."

Coun Downing gave a speech to the audience who were full of energy and burst into applause as the certificates were awarded.

He said: "To achieve something makes you feel great and you should all be proud of yourselves. If you try and don't succeed, you can try and try again."