A church and charity dedicated to supporting the needs of the local community is celebrating 140 years of serving the people of Southport and the surrounding areas.
The Salvation Army in Southport will be marking this milestone anniversary at its church and community centre located on Shakespeare Street which opened its doors to serve and support the local community in December 1883.
Amongst other things, it now operates two parent and toddler groups, a fellowship group for older people called Connect, offers practical support of food and baby essentials through its onsite food bank and baby bank and provides a worship service on a Sunday. The café and charity shop help to provide much needed assistance in terms of offering food and a warm space as well as clothing and furniture to those who are in need.
Withstanding two world wars and continuing to operate through a global pandemic, The Salvation Army in Southport has seen a number of programmes run from its church and community centre over the years, all dedicated to serving a variety of people including those suffering social exclusion, people who are vulnerable, homeless and more recently those on the lowest of incomes as the cost of living crisis and rising energy prices continue to push more people into poverty.
Current church leaders of The Salvation Army Southport are Captains Michael and Alison Hutchings who took up leadership of the church and community centre in 2018.
Captain Alison said: “The Salvation Army has always been committed to being at the heart of the communities in which we serve and adapts to the needs of the people, offering practical support and spiritual advice. We still find now that The Salvation Army has a big place in people’s hearts, and we are proud and privileged to serve without discrimination the people of Southport, and the surrounding areas, as we have done for more than a century.
“The recent years have seen us adapt our support to the needs of local people, serving others, providing faith, hope and love as our Christian faith teaches us to but we couldn’t do it without the support we receive from our many volunteers, local community and businesses.
“As part of our celebrations we will be holding a community fun day and BBQ in the summer; an opportunity for us to join with our neighbours and celebrate being part of this community.”
The Salvation Army first opened its doors in Southport with a church on Virginia Street before it moved to Shakespeare Street in 1922. The church and community centre underwent a big refurbishment in 2011 extending into the building next door and was officially opened in 2012. Today the original church on Shakespeare Street is now The Salvation Army’s charity shop which includes large furniture items for sale.
For anyone wishing to support The Salvation Army in Southport, donations can be made to www.justgiving.com/southportsalvationarmy and whilst all donations are welcome, people are encouraged to donate only what they can afford.
The Salvation Army was founded in London’s East End in 1865 by William and Catherine Booth. Today this Christian church and registered charity is active in 132 countries worldwide.
Since its early days social action has been central to The Salvation Army’s Christian faith. In 1885 Salvationists successfully campaigned for the age of consent to be raised from 13 to 16 and in 1890 the church and charity opened the UK’s first labour exchange.
In UK and Republic of Ireland The Salvation Army’s work includes more than 650 community churches and social centres offering compassionate support, a listening ear and practical help.