Council leader visits Oxford church to see how it tackles loneliness and isolation in the community

published on 22 Feb 2019

Oxford visit

A Salvation Army church that provides a safe and supportive environment for local people welcomed Oxfordshire County Council leader, Cllr Ian Hudspeth on Wednesday 20 February.

The visit highlighted to the County Council leader the issues faced by older people attending the church.

The Council leader spent time meeting the ministers of the church and visitors who attend the activities for older people, which included their regular lunch spot on a Wednesday.

Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Ian Hudspeth said:

“It has been a joy to meet local people who come together to enjoy a day out, in a warm, safe and uplifting place without discrimination for those on their own or who may struggle to get out. The Salvation Army offers friendship, encouragement and support to those that need it.”

Visitor to the Wednesday activities, Elizabeth from Headington, said: “I enjoy the two-course home cooked meals, as I struggle to make my own now. It is a lifeline to me on a Wednesday, I use the dial-a-ride to get here. It’s great to see friends every week and have a joke. Last week, I had an operation on my eye and I couldn’t get out and I missed the company.”

Cllr Ian Hudspeth spent time hearing about the issues affecting older people and also heard from The Salvation Army about their concerns regarding homelessness and adult social care. The Salvation Army has been in Oxford for over one hundred years and currently meets at the South Oxford Christian Centre on Wytham Street. Leaders have been looking for a new church site for some time, after their old church was compulsory purchased for a new shopping centre in the town.

Minister of the church, Major Tim Johnson said: “We are grateful that Councillor Hudspeth came to visit us to see what we are doing. Loneliness doesn’t just affect older people, indeed, young people often feel the same.

“The Salvation Army offers a warm and friendly welcome at all of our churches or centres. Through our day centres, lunch clubs and home visiting schemes, we reach out to older people living alone to make sure they have friendship and companionship in their lives.”

The Oxford church is also considering ways to offer activities to support people living with dementia. Nationally, The Salvation Army has developed ‘Singing By Heart, a singing group that provides an uplifting experience for people living with dementia, as well as their carers. The Salvation Army in Oxford is set to communicate about new activities in due course.

Activities at the church on Wednesdays include, ‘Come and meet each other’ at 11am, with the over 60s lunch club at 12noon, followed by some social time afterwards.