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Fatima House

/media/community-projects/library/fatima-house.jpgFatima House is a partnership project that offers safe shelter to female asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute and homeless. Up to eleven women can be housed at Fatima House at any one time.

/media/community-projects/library/img_7199-01a-edited-and-resized.jpgThe project came about in 2015 when the Archdiocese was considering how it could respond to the continuing refugee crisis. During this time, it became apparent that a need already existed to support destitute refugees and asylum seekers already living in the Diocese.

A Birmingham priest offered a parish building that he felt was too big for his needs. The Diocese decided to use this property to house homeless asylum seekers.

Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham brought together partner organisations to develop and oversee the project. Father Hudson’s Care researched the work needed to make the building suitable for its new purpose, and the Archdiocese paid for the renovations to be carried out. The Columban Missionaries offered to manage the running of Fatima House on a day-to-day basis, and volunteers from the parish donated items to welcome the first arrivals.

After months of hard work from everyone involved, Fatima House welcomed its first two women in July 2016. By the time the official launch took place in November, it was almost full with nine women living there who would otherwise have nowhere to turn.

/media/community-projects/library/img_7205-01a.jpgWomen are referred to the project by specialist agencies, including Restore, Migrant Help, St Chad’s Sanctuary, Asirt, Brushtrokes, the British Red Cross and others. These agencies support the women with their asylum claim and with moving their lives forward.  

The partner organisations continue to support Fatima House as the project develops by meeting regularly as a management committee and steering group, fundraising, collating donations and managing referrals. Father Hudson’s Care continue to support the governance, building and financial management of the project and the Columban Missionaries manage the project on a day to day basis, making sure the project runs smoothly and the women staying there are well supported. Volunteers, including those from the parish, and The St Vincent de Paul Society offer befriending and support to the women staying there.  The St Vincent de Paul Society also provides destitute Fatima House guests with access to a small weekly Financial Support Fund. Many other groups, organisations and individuals support the project by providing donations of food, clothes and toiletries and household items.

/media/community-projects/library/img_7219-01a.jpgMore than merely a roof over their heads, Fatima House offers a warm welcome to the women who stay there. Mauricio Silva and Nathalie Marytsch from Columban Missionaries Britain co-ordinate activities and house meetings for the women, creating a nurturing community and sense of home.

Fatima House has an ongoing need for donations of essential items including toiletries, household cleaning products
and non-perishable food, especially tinned vegetables. If you would like to make a donation or want to know more about the project, please email fatimahouse@fatherhudsons.org.uk or call Father Hudson’s Care on 01675 434000.

Photographs by Martyn Adams.

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