Salvation Army homelessness initiative hailed a "lifesaver"

published on 2 Apr 2024

A former businesswoman, whose world was turned upside down by alcohol addiction, has described a new project run by The Salvation Army as a "lifesaver".

The STEP Project, based in Rhyl, has been relaunched with a new name and logo, after a successful first year, with the aim of improving the lives of people living in temporary accommodation in the area.

Paula Conway explained how she first started receiving support from STEP. She said: "I was a successful, self-employed person and had been working abroad for many years. Then unfortunately alcohol got the better of me. I ended up in an institution for seven months after having a massive breakdown, mainly through alcohol. It's fortunate that I found The Salvation Army about six months ago. This scheme gives me purpose every day. I never used to go out of my flat and socialise but that’s all changed. Now I'm out virtually every single day and I’ve rediscovered my art. I specialise in paintings and drawings. This scheme has been a lifesaver for me. I can't put it any other way really."

Ceri Moore, the service manager of STEP, explains a new identity was needed for the project. She said: "STEP, stands for ‘Support That Empowers People’. The renamed service better reflects the individual support we give to help people to get back into the community, get their health and mental health in a better place and help them focus on a brighter future.

"We work extremely closely with Denbighshire County Council as our commissioner and referrer into the service. We offer support on an intensive basis. We are currently based in The Salvation Army church in Rhyl. The church has helped our new service to grow and achieve so much."

Councillor Rhys Thomas, lead member for Housing and Communities at Denbighshire County Council, said: "There's only so much a council can do. We depend greatly on partners. We can't do everything that we would like to, which means working closely with organisations like The Salvation Army is vital. There are parts of Rhyl with areas of high deprivation. Projects such as STEP are a way of getting vulnerable and disenfranchised citizens re-engaged with the community and giving support to move on with their lives."

The involvement of the Denbighshire County Council is just one important partnership for STEP. The role of The Salvation Army’s Church in Rhyl is also key. Church leader Major Chris Davidson says the STEP Project has made it easier to help those who need it.

He said: "STEP has been based in the church to support people in the community. Some people in need have already been coming to our church to use our food bank, to get essential items from our charity drop or to just drop into the centre for support. The STEP Project helps people in temporary accommodation. The individual help offered here really makes a difference.

"The success of the project so far is based on the relationships that we have built up with people. We listen, talk and offer our time. That’s a massive thing for people these days."

Emma Shaw, The Salvation Army’s regional homelessness manager, says this is just the start of a promising journey. She said: "The launch event was a pleasure and a privilege to celebrate. It acknowledged the work and achievements made by the staff team, citizens and all our partners. So far I look forward to our future work together across Denbighshire and I'm sure that there will be many more celebrations to come."


Support our Easter Appeal

Help people like Max fight for their fresh start.