The Rt Honourable Baroness Hilary Armstrong of Hill Top attends Salvation Army Community Project in the North East

published on 14 Nov 2014

The Rt Hon Baroness Hilary Armstrong of Hill Top visited our Southwick Community Project in Sunderland which is on the front line of our battle against poverty in the UK.

Southwick is one of the most deprived areas in the country with unemployment and social exclusion two of the key challenges faced by local people. The project has been helping local people since 1998 and is now based in a modern, multi functional building, Austin Family Centre.

There are a number of services run by the project targeted at making a real difference to local people. It aims to help every member of the community who needs it, and as a result there's a wide range of services on offer. These include a kid's breakfast club's, an emergency food bank and an Employment Plus Local which helps those furthest from employment to find work. The project's Daily Bread Cafe is open every week day and contributes in making the centre a busy and vibrant community hub.

The Rt Hon Baroness Armstrong who worked as a community and youth worker in Southwick during the 1970s met service users when she visited the project on Thursday 13 November. She also spent time experiencing some of the services offered at the centre including Employment Plus Local. She said: "I understand some of the hurdles facing local people in Sunderland so was keen to visit Southwick Community Project due to its valuable work as a hub which is making a real difference to the most vulnerable people."

Graham Wharton, Project Manager at The Southwick Community Project, said: "It's always a hive of activity here as there's so much going on. Our services aren't just for children, or young people as our programme includes support for older people to help with isolation, we're a centre for the whole community. We believe The Southwick Community Project is a great example of how a big difference can be made on a grass roots level so we're delighted that The Rt Honourable Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top has taken the time to come and see what we do here."