Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Caritas Anchor House celebrates 50 years since official opening

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Caritas Anchor House celebrates 50 years since official opening

9th December 2016
This weekend will mark the 50th anniversary of Caritas Anchor House’s official opening.

On 10th December 1966, Anchor House[1] was opened by His Eminence Cardinal John Heenan. The charity’s original purpose was to provide temporary accommodation to out-of-work seafarers coming into and out of the nearby London docks. As well as access to the 50 seat television theatre, bar lounge and barbers, ballroom dances were held every evening.

Kathy Blayney is a receptionist at Caritas Anchor House, but her relationship with the charity goes back to the 1970’s. Aged 17, Kathy and her friends regularly sneaked into the dances, posing as local nurses who were invited to join the seafarers.

“The dances were always such fun and very popular - most nights over 150 people attended. The annual October anniversary dance was a particularly big event and one of my highlights. I made many really good friends there, including my now-husband!”

During the 1960’s, London’s industrial landscape began to change and the docks went into decline, resulting in the loss of 150,000 jobs. As East London evolved, so too did Anchor House, and it began operating as a hostel for homeless people. Since the appointment of new management in 2004, it has transformed into an award winning residential and life skills centre, offering services to over 220 homeless people each year.

Caritas Anchor House supports those who have been affected by homelessness, unemployment, mental health, substance misuse, domestic abuse and offending. Our driving mission is to ensure that each person who walks through our doors grows in confidence and moves towards leading independent, self-fulfilling lives by providing education, guidance and personal rehabilitation.

The future for Caritas Anchor House is a very exciting one. Our £15.3 million Home and Hope Appeal is nearing completion, and includes the construction of 25 new transitional flats for residents who are progressing from homelessness into independent living, as well as expanding our training and educational facilities.

Caritas Anchor House has a rich history and which has been marked by our desire to offer help and support. We are proud to act as a beacon of hope for those who need it most, and look forward to supporting many more people in the years to come.

[1] In 2014, we changed our name from Anchor House to Caritas Anchor House.  


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