New leaders for Isle of Man’s Salvation Army church have their sights set on Christmas

published on 27 Nov 2018

“Some parts remind me of Cape Town and some parts remind me of Cumbria”, that’s the verdict on the Isle of Man from Lieutenants Dylan and Rachael Nieuwoudt, the new Commanding Officers of The Salvation Army here on the island.

The couple, who have been married for 13 years have also been struck by how laid back and friendly their new home is too:

“The biggest surprise has been the fact that life on the island seems to stem back to a time when people actually enjoyed making conversation; when life was slower and more meaningful. The island has surprised us with a real sense of safety and freedom, which greatly benefits our children.”

Their busy social calendar and the numerous places to explore are another pleasant surprise: 

“There’s so much going on that one never feels the need to leave. Already we’ve been entertained with local events such as a street carnival, agricultural show and with many of the natural wonders to explore on the island.”

The Nieuwoudt’s last posting was in Rhyl, North Wales where their church injected new life into the struggling seaside town with a range of innovations; including starting a toddler group from scratch and introducing a community lunch for lonely, disadvantaged and vulnerable people. 

Under the couple’s guidance, The Salvation Army church also worked closely with social services to bring food parcels and toys to needy families in and round Rhyl throughout the year. The Nieuwoudt’s undertook regular home visits to elderly people living in remote areas as well, providing them with pastoral and practical support and helping them overcome loneliness and isolation.

Now, they’re bringing their skills and experience to the Isle of Man to ensure that the generous donations to the Isle of Man Salvation Army from the public and from legacies continues to provide vital support and practical assistance to the community in a variety of ways; from paying for fuel deposits, white goods, electric top ups and school uniforms, as well as financing weekly luncheon clubs and Come and Meet Each Other (CAMEO) sessions for older residents.

In the coming weeks, the Nieuwoudts will be concentrating on helping struggling households enjoy the festive season with their Christmas Present Appeal — which kicked off on 2 November — in partnership with Isle of Man Bank.

As in previous years, people will be able to donate new, unwrapped gifts and non-perishable food to the appeal by dropping them off in any branch of Isle of Man Bank.

Gifts can include anything from soft and educational toys for the very youngest child, to games, toys and accessories for older children and young adults.

Last year’s Christmas Present Appeal resulted in a staggering 516 gifts being delivered to households who might otherwise not have anything to unwrap over the festive season. What’s more, The Salvation Army helped over 1900 people on the Isle of Man with vouchers, food and meals and fed 54 people at a special Boxing Day meal.

Of this year’s appeal, Lieutenant Dylan Nieuboudt, Commanding Officer Isle of Man Salvation Army said: 

“At the heart of The Salvation Army is social action. This reflects the nature of Jesus, for he demonstrated to us genuine compassion to the poor and marginalised. In the same fashion, we want to respond by supporting the less fortunate children with toys, who would otherwise go without. We aim to support our community with the gift of food, rather than going hungry. We strive to give people good company, rather than being alone over the festive season. Ultimately we want to provide the gift of love, which was freely offered to all humanity - as taught by the Christmas story."

The Isle of Man Salvation Army is temporarily located at Fairfield School, Tynwald Street, Douglas IM11BE.