THE Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, visited homelessness charity Framework’s Sutton centre on Monday as part of a whistlestop tour of Nottinghamshire.
He was shown around the Outram Street Centre, which provides accommodation for young people at risk of involvement in the criminal justice system, as well as being home to the Barista coffee bar, a creative media training suite and recording studio and start-up units for businesses.
Dr Sentamu was clearly impressed with the set-up at the centre and by the testimony he heard from some of the charity’s many young service users.
He said: “To me, this is the tip of an iceberg.
“There are some people who are invisible but in great need.
“You should judge a society on how it treats the vulnerable, not the high and mighty, and Framework is the arm of a caring society.
“They are doing marvellous, remarkable work.”
During his visit, Dr Sentamu spoke to 20-year-old Simon Dolby who has been living in one of the apartments at the centre for a couple of weeks.
He heard how Simon needed somewhere to live when his grandparents moved into a care home and was shown around the accommodation that Framework has provided him with.
Simon explained how he wants to become a designer and about the support that he is being given to help him do so.
Dr Sentamu then said a prayer for Simon and his grandparents.
Managers from the centre also showed the Archbishop around the state-of-the-art media training suite and recording studio, and he learnt about the support from key workers that service users benefit from to help them get back on track.
He then had lunch with young people who are accessing a range of Framework’s services, including teenage mums and those staying in the Outram Street Centre.
Sixteen-year-old Sammie Wood has been living at the centre for about a month and a half.
He said: “They have got me into a media course and are helping me really well.
“The staff are really supportive.”
Robert Bunting (28), from Mansfield, has been staying there for around six weeks after finding himself homeless when he lost his job and being unable to afford his rent.
He said: “I sofa-surfed for a bit but became completely homeless when I had no one to stay with.
“I was walking round most nights or sleeping rough somewhere.”
After going to Framework he was immediately offered an apartment at the centre and is getting much-needed support from his key worker.
“It’s a wonderful service.
“I don’t know what I would have done without it,” he said.
Describing the importance of helping young people get a good start in life, Dr Sentamu added: “I just hope nobody cuts these services because if their services are cut, they will be out of the system.
“It’s better to carry on so they are being helped and come out of dependency on the system.”