18 years of caring at the All Saints Centre
2008: For more than 18 years Lilias Standage (pictured right) has provided advice and care for hundreds of under-privileged people living in Norwich.
In August the 64-year-old will retire from her position as manager at the All Saints Centre in Westlegate but she said her experience there has made her realise how kind-hearted people in Norwich really are.
The All Saints Centre has been a place of “Christian hospitality” for more than 600 years and anyone is welcomed into the centre if they are in need of information, a rest a chat, meeting friends, leaving luggage, or requiring refreshments.
It has become a meeting place for elderly and the homeless and has become a bit of a city institution according to Lilias.
“I got involved with the centre many many years ago when it was a drop-in centre,” she said. “It was and always has been a place where people in need can come and just meet others and get some advice.
“We rely on donations and the work of volunteers and it never ceases to amaze me how kind people are in the city and so willing to help others.
“The centre did not used to be open on a Sunday but it is now and this is so important because Sunday has always been a day for the family and there are many people who don't have anyone so this is a place they can come for company.”
Lilias, a widow who lives in Norwich, said she has seen many changes over the years in Norwich and the centre itself and has been a part of many people's lives for many years.
There was no real help for people in the city with drug or alcohol related problems where as now there are numerous centres and people available to give advice such as DAAT, Norcas and the Matthew Project.
“Now there are more places around for people,” she said. “But we are still the only place open seven days a week. We keep our prices to the minimum and concentrate on those on low incomes.
“I would like to see employers being more open minded about people that have no fixed abode. People who are homeless and trying to get back on their feet really struggle because no one will employ them. It is very hard for some people.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here but I think you know in life when it is time to move on and this is time for me now.”
All Saints Centre is a registered charity and a voluntary organisation run by a small team of professional managers with a daily rota of volunteer helpers.
Volunteers of all kinds are always needed to support the Centre in its work and anyone who would like to help can call 01603 633 726.
Story and picture courtesy of www.eveningnews24.co.uk