Southwick Community Project serves a community within the top five per cent of most deprived areas in the country.
The project is housed in a relatively new building connected to the local primary school, part-funded by The Salvation Army and local partners. The Salvation Army’s presence in the building features Our Daily Bread café which serves food every weekday.
Centre Manager Graham often has to adapt to what the needs are on the ground: “This is proper grassroots, bottom-up stuff.” Sat behind his desk, resplendent with paperwork, post-it notes and various important-looking files, it’s clear that Graham is not somebody with a great amount of spare time. “We try our best to specialise in certain areas but, in an area such as this, people come to you with such diverse worries and concerns that you end up being a jack of all trades.
“We deal with people with employment issues, including young people looking for a break and families who have been out of work for generations. Despite the rhetoric in the national arena at the moment, what we see is generally people who want to get trained and skilled, particularly in the younger generations so they can break the cycle of poverty. We try to help them do that by providing them with training.
“We also help people who feel isolated and anybody in this community who needs help, be it from just a chat with a cup of tea to aid with budgeting or food, to long-term life-plans.”