Music education for people with learning disabilities, weekly two-course lunches and a social group for older people are just some of the new services The Salvation Army is launching now they are back in their refurbished church and community centre on the corner of Glendale Gardens and Elm Road.
Church members, staff and supporters of Leigh-on-Sea Salvation Army gathered on Saturday (27 April) to celebrate the official re-opening of the building following major works.
Lieutenant-Colonel Dean Pallant from The Salvation Army’s national headquarters conducted the ribbon cutting ceremony, assisted by Vera Dolby, one of the oldest members of Leigh-on-Sea Salvation Army, and William Stanley, one of the youngest.
The major redevelopment, which includes a contemporary glass entrance and reorganised internal layout, will enable The Salvation Army in its launch of new programmes that focus on addressing local loneliness and isolation and promoting all-round physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. New programmes include:
- The Music Man Project UK – a music education service specifically for people with learning disabilities;
- Lunch club – a healthy, two-course meal for £5 in a friendly atmosphere;
- Young at Heart – a social and interests group featuring entertainment, dancing, trips, games and educational classes such as cookery workshops.
Anyone interested in these activities and finding out what else is on offer at the church and community centre should contact The Salvation Army’s newly appointed local leader Major Jacquie Hanover on 01702 716607.
Major Jacquie said: “The mission of The Salvation Army is all about turning Christian beliefs into action in practical ways – to make a difference and change people’s lives for the better. Our new church and community centre is now open for all to enjoy, whether you want to attend worship or just pop in for a chat or attend our activities.”
Staff and children at The Salvation Army’s popular pre-school, which maintained its outstanding Ofsted rating in 2017, are looking forward to coming back home to Glendale Gardens.
Sarah Hemmingfield, acting manager of The Salvation Army’s Smiley Pre-school, said: “We feel very fortunate to have these amazing facilities to offer families in Leigh-on-Sea.
“The children have a bright, refurbished hall in which to learn and play, with new child-friendly and accessible toilet facilities nearby. Parents and carers will also benefit from an open entrance and café space, which will make pick-up and drop-off times easier.”
Salvation Army church member Hilary Davison, 79, said: “Our new building is a fantastic space in which we can serve the local community.”
Hilary, a life-long Salvation Army church member, has worked as a volunteer and manager in the community centre supporting older people since the late 1970s.
As she approaches 80 years old, there’s no holding back Hilary’s enthusiasm for The Salvation Army’s work. She added: “I’ll help where I can.”
Helen Croot leads mid-week worship at The Salvation Army on Wednesday afternoons. She said: “The new layout has created a more useful, open and attractive space. The building is now a lot more accessible which is really important for many of the older people who attend worship on a Wednesday afternoon. I’m really excited about being creative and developing what we do in this new building.”
Following the opening on Saturday 27 April, The Salvation Army has planned a week of taster sessions and events to invite local people into its new home.
More information about Leigh-on-Sea Salvation Army.