Salvation Army Officer supports school children and parents

published on 29 Apr 2024

In her second year as a Salvation Army Officer (Minister), Lieutenant Chelsea Huddlestone is offering pastoral support to local school children and their parents in her local area. 

Chelsea is a chaplain at St. Pauls Church of England Primary School nestled in a residential area in Longton, educating and nurturing 250 children from a diverse community.

Staff at St. Pauls School had been considering how they could offer more support to their children and parents as the relentless cost-of-living crisis continues to bear down on families. 

Lieutenant Chelsea visits the school on Wednesdays and has been supporting local families at the ‘Gather and Grow’ community hub since December last year. It provides an important place for families and the wider community to access support and resources. 


Parents can learn more about teaching maths, enabling them to assist their children with homework, there is a quiet space for reading and a stay and play (for toddlers). There is also a food and clothes bank and a community lending library, and Lieutenant Chelsea is looking to start a coffee morning at the hub on Wednesdays. 

Head teacher, Deborah Sadler said, “For some time we were concerned that many families have been struggling in one way or another and financial strain is putting a burden on a wider range of people in our community.  We wanted to offer the same nurturing support to children and the wider community alike.

“We want parents to come through the door and feel at home. Chelsea came along to offer her support to the school at just at the right time as we wanted to reach out to both children and their families”. 

Deborah continued: “We feel it is really important to offer this space right now. With Chelsea coming to offer support as a Chaplain we feel our prayers have been answered to make the school a more welcoming and nurturing place for anyone who needs us”. 

Chelsea assisting pupils in class

The school have re-purposed two rooms into spaces for the wider community, offering space to assist and support families. Chelsea said: 

“I think it’s a great resource. As parents, they can just take what they need, they don’t have to ask at the school all the time. The stay and play will allow parents to stay on after dropping their older children at the school, so it allows them to meet with other parents and get their younger children used to the school environment, for when they reach school age. The hub allows a more informal connection between parents and staff”.

Chelsea started visiting the school one day a week in January 2023 and said:

“I wanted to reach out to local schools as we are called to reach out in our local communities – it is a joy to be able to offer pastoral support to children while they are at school. The school wants to reach out to families as many wanted a place to gather together with others. It is a privilege to help the school build a welcoming space and all of us are very excited about developing the Gather and Grow space. Offering support to parents has a beneficial effect on their children too”.

Prayer from one of the School's pupils

Chelsea regularly visits classes across all years and assists teachers with one-to-one reading with children. She helps to run the ‘Oasis’ quiet space where children who want to learn more about faith can find peace and also pray about their concerns. Chelsea has several regulars who call in to see her, asking questions and seeking to commit prayers as written notes or built pieces of Lego. 

Chelsea in the Oasis room within the School.
Salvation Army Officer Cadet comforts woman

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