Salvation Army Lifehouse supports 3000 vulnerable people

published on 31 Aug 2022

The Salvation Army homelessness service in Skegness has marked 21 years of helping more than 3000 homeless people.

The Christian church and charity’s latest investment in the Lifehouse, Witham Lodge, (which provides supported accommodation) is an outdoor gym, to build people’s mental well-being and improve their physical health.

The new gym was installed in the garden of the Lifehouse in July and the equipment includes a sky stepper, cross-trainer, rowing machine and pedal bicycle.

The new gym was funded by donations at Christmas from a local business and a member of the public, both of whom wish to remain anonymous.

The site before the outdoor gym was installed

Manager of the Lifehouse, Mr George Hockings said:

“We are delighted to have this new gym on the premises. Ever since it has been installed, our clients have been using the equipment to improve their health. With the costs of gym membership unaffordable for many, this is a welcome addition to our services and we would like to thank all those that donated cash to us at Christmas.

“This really makes our clients feel valued and provides them with an outlet while they recover from their homeless experience, and begin to move on with their lives.”

Witham Lodge has 26 single rooms and four flats, plus another 11 beds at other sites in Skegness. Since October 2020, The Salvation Army Lifehouse has been part of the Lincolnshire housing related support partnership. The Lifehouse opened in June 2001.

The new gym installed in July 2022

Stephen (not his real name) ended up in Skegness after returning from Spain when his long-term relationship ended. He ran a successful business in Spain. He had to return to the UK without many of his documents and so needed to prove that he was a UK Citizen.

When he arrived in Skegness he slept rough for several nights. He slept in a tent that was slashed during the night - thankfully, when he wasn’t in it, he also slept in bus shelters.

He said: “I was at my lowest, I couldn’t see the light of the end of the tunnel. I had no hope.” Stephen was helped by the Lifehouse to rebuild his life, re-train and volunteer his time for the emergency rescue services.

George Hockings, Manager at the centre since 2003, said: “We have helped more than 3000 people since we opened our doors back in 2001. Homelessness can affect anyone, and it certainly doesn’t discriminate against highly successful people with businesses or careers either.

“We help people to tackle the complex reasons for their homelessness like mental ill-health,  relationship break-down, domestic violence, trauma or addiction. We are here to help people move on positively with their lives after a period of homelessness.

“For some, tackling their reasons for homelessness takes only a short time, while others may need longer-term professional help. Here at Witham Lodge Lifehouse we walk alongside people to get this help.”

The completed gym that service users love training on

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