Salvation Army prepares to support flood-affected residents in Doncaster and Sheffield

published on 8 Nov 2019

Officers with provisions

After torrential rain on Thursday 7 November, The Salvation Army is offering refreshments and is on standby to provide emergency accommodation for people affected by the severe weather.

In Doncaster, The Salvation Army opened a rest centre for people evacuated from their homes after the River Don threatened to burst its banks and potentially flood local houses. A team of church leaders, volunteers and voluntary sector partners are preparing for people to arrive after requests to provide assistance from Doncaster City Council.

Doncaster Salvation Army leader Major Alan Bawden says: “We have been on standby since 7 am this morning and are prepared to support our community if they are evacuated from their homes. Initially, we will be providing hot drinks and snacks. However, we are also working with the council to provide overnight sleeping arrangements at the hall should it be required.

“Our rota of 50 people are prepared and ready to be involved, supporting people who arrive at our church, offering a friendly welcome and a listening ear.”

Last night (Thursday 8 November) The Salvation Army’s Charter Row Lifehouse in Sheffield city centre provided safe, dry shelter to rough-sleepers as part of the local authority’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) provision that is activated during extreme weather. This vital support can make the difference between life and death for rough sleepers who are already vulnerable to the elements on the streets.

Service manager Andy Parkinson said: “We work throughout the year providing safe accommodation for people experiencing homelessness as well as tailored support to help people address the issues that led to them sleeping rough.

“Life is tough on the streets and people find themselves even more vulnerable when unable to shelter from severe cold, heat, rain or gales. Although some are not yet ready to take up the support services available, this extra provision can make the difference. It also provides another avenue for them to explore the help that is on offer.”

Charter Row sheltered three people on Thursday and also has opened its lounge as a sit up service. The Lifehouse is currently on standby ahead of SWEP being potentially activated on Friday evening.

The Salvation Army’s Territorial Emergency Response Officer Adrian Clee said:

“The Salvation Army is at the heart of communities and ready to offer support and friendship when people find themselves in a moment of crisis. It can be worrying and stressful having to leave where you feel safe and not knowing when you can return, so our church will be providing space for people to relax, have a warm drink and refreshments and chat to our friendly team of ministers, staff and volunteers during this time.

“The Salvation Army is regularly called upon to provide comfort and safety to people in distress, in addition to our year-round work supporting those who are most vulnerable.”