St. Vincent de Paul Society
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in Paris in 1833 by a group of Catholic students who, led by Frederic Ozanam, aimed to put their faith into action through direct contact and assistance to the poor. Inspired by the work and teachings of St. Vincent de Paul, a priest who abandoned the profit of an ecclesiastical career at the Royal Court in favour of working with the marginalised and forgotten poor of France in the 1600's, the group placed itself under his patronage.
A few years after its foundation the organisation had grown in numbers and soon spread to other countries. By 1844 the first Conference of Charity had been formed in England and Wales.
The Society founded by Frederic almost two centuries later would continue its work not just in France but across the world. The work would be undertaken by ordinary people who felt called to turn concern into practical action and to alleviate poverty in all its forms.
The Newcastle Deaf Centre is just one of the many initiatives pioneered by SVP direct action in the community.
The SVP's work with the Deaf on Tyneside
The SVP has been working with the Deaf in Tyne Central Council since 1930. In 1950 the Sisters of Mercy at St. Ann's Convent Newcastle offered part of their premises in Summerhill Grove to the SVP as a centre and in that year the late Bishop McCormack formally opened and blessed it naming it Our Lady of Lourdes Deaf Club. Over the years we have seen many changes at the Club (now know as Newcastle Deaf Centre) but it is still as vibrant as ever and used by the whole of the Deaf Community.
SVP Management Committee
The Centre is looked after by the SVP Management Committee of nine members, five of whom are Deaf, which meets monthly. We have our own Chaplain, Father Robert Kinlen. Most of our work is to ensure that the Centre runs smoothly and any problems regarding the building or user concerns are dealt with promptly.