Bootle Salvation Army hosted a special Christmas lunch to thank local volunteers and community groups for their joint support in helping vulnerable people in the area this year.
The local church and charity in Stanley Road invited its team of volunteers along with representatives from Sefton Council, community nurses and support agencies as well as businesses to attend the celebration meal to recognise their support.
The Salvation Army’s Bootle Corps (church) gave everyone who came a candle with a personal message to remind them of the light they bring to the lives of the people in the community.
Captain Annette Booth, church leader of Bootle corps, said: “The work we do here at Bootle in supporting some of the most vulnerable local people would not be possible without our amazing supporters. Our volunteer lunch is a wonderful opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone while reflecting on how the community has been supported over the last year.
"Many of the people we help have complex needs and our work is often challenging. We make a difference and it's wonderful when those individuals come back to thank us after they have achieved their goals. This year we have been fortunate to hear from some of those whose lives have been transformed after receiving help here. It’s a privilege to be part of their story.”
One of the volunteers who helped prepare the meal, Warren Smeatham, a retired university technician, said: “I’ve been volunteering at The Salvation Army in Bootle for about 15 months. It’s made a real difference to my life, seeing the transformative work that takes place here and being a part of it.
“I volunteer in the kitchen and also for The Salvation Army’s emergency response work which means supporting the local fire service when they are called out to major incidents. On the day of the volunteer lunch I had been out until 2:30am supporting the fire service and serving refreshments at a local fire on Long Lane.”
Warren and his partner will be joining other volunteers on Christmas Day at Bootle Salvation Army to serve a traditional Christmas lunch to around 60 people who would otherwise be on their own.
On Christmas Eve there is a service at 11am and on Christmas Day family worship will take place at 11am - everyone is welcome.
The Salvation Army in Bootle provide The Hope Centre which offers a listening ear, showers and laundry facilities for the most vulnerable, together with low cost meals every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10am and 3pm.
As well as Sunday and mid-week worship services, Bootle Salvation Army also supports older people as well as families , and runs a popular Job Club (Employment Plus), and a much loved charity shop.