Salvation Army celebrates 140 years in Watford
published on 4 Apr 2023
A birthday party with a difference was held in Watford last month as The Salvation Army celebrated 140 years of serving the town.
More than a hundred local schoolchildren, their parents and local dignitaries defied inclement weather and joined Captain Mark Scoulding, who leads the church and charity in Watford, at a community allotment project to mark the anniversary. Visitors also enjoyed a cake, baked specially for the occasion.
There was another reason to celebrate after The Salvation Army in Watford was also named as the church and charity’s first Silver Award Eco Church, marking efforts to care for God's creation through worship, buildings, land, community engagement and individual lifestyles.
Mark and his wife Grace have been in Watford since 2016 and work across the town providing emergency practical assistance, especially holiday hunger relief and recipe boxes. The church also opens a co-working space every Thursday including Employment Plus, which offers support to individuals including help with CV writing, confidence building, applying for jobs and interview skills to help people find and stay in work.
The community allotment project is held every Tuesday at Cherry Tree Allotment which is next door to Cherry Tree Primary School.
Mark said he felt the allotment was the ideal place to hold the celebrations.
He added: “We have an amazing partnership with Cherry Tree Primary School and the other schools in the Inclusive Multi Academy Trust. The Year 3 pupils from Cherry Tree visit and work on the allotment each week – they are just amazing.”
Cheska Tyler is headteacher at Cherry Tree Primary and said The Salvation Army were part of the Cherry Tree family.
She said: “The support and opportunity they offer our children, families and community is invaluable. Whether the need is emotional, financial or practical, the Salvation Army have given support in all areas and always with a friendly smile. Our children having access to the allotment has transformed learning for some; they look forward to Tuesday mornings more than any other day. They get to demonstrate independence, confidence, resilience and teamwork as well as learn new skills and how to care for our world. We are so grateful for this special relationship and look forward to it continuing to grow.”
Peter Taylor, Watford’s elected mayor, was among those to join the celebrations and hailed the impact The Salvation Army has had on the town.
He said: “They have made a huge difference here. At the moment, they are doing a lot in relation to sustainability and food and work really closely with a number of local primary schools to help families during the cost of living crisis. They were really instrumental in our response to the pandemic. They just roll up their sleeves and get on with things without a big song or a dance and I’m incredibly grateful to the team here for what they are doing.”
Mark said plans for the next year include launching a Tuk-Tuk coffee cart and converting the church building into a coffee house.
For more on The Salvation Army in Watford, go to www.salvationarmy.org.uk/watford