Salvation Army's Lifehouse becomes a Lighthouse for City of Culture

published on 18 Jul 2017

Residents at the iconic William Booth House Lifehouse, Hessle Road, Hull – highly visible from the busy A63 heading into Hull, where it supports people experiencing homelessness – have declared their ‘wish to communicate with you [in Hull]’ by joining the Goodwin Development Trust in its Made In Hull celebrations.  

The ambitious mass communication engaging local residents is the vision of Italian artist Silvio Palladino and has been brought to life by international lighting consultant James Bawn and the people of Hull, inspired by the city’s connection with the sea and traditional seafaring communication methods. Windowpanes are being fitted with tinted filters to reveal a skyline vibrant with colour as darkness falls and lights come on.  

So far a number of properties on the Thornton Estate have splashed the area with vibrant colour and The Salvation Army’s residential centre is number seven on the list of participants. The building’s many windows provide plentiful canvases for the filters and add a positive vibe to their section of the city.   The Lifehouse’s programme co-ordinator, Ann Johnston, said: “Too often, people experiencing homelessness can feel forgotten, their voices unheard. We want to be part of this project as a reminder that everyone has value and worth whatever their circumstances or challenges, and that we all have a part to play – and a voice - in our community.  

“It seems apt that The Salvation Army should be involved as the theme is breaking through isolation and expressing a desire to communicate. Homelessness can be an incredibly isolating experience, with many finding themselves in this situation initially as a result of broken relationships. Our support staff work alongside people in identifying the goals they wish to reach and the obstacles they want to overcome in their journey, communication is a vital part of this.

You could say we are bringing light into a dark time in someone’s life, just as this project will use the light on dark nights to bring some colour into this part of the city.”   The coloured panels fitted to the Lifehouse’s windows create a stained glass effect during the day and look fantastic when lit from behind at night. Residents have been taking part in the project, with some having spent time cutting out the filters prior to installation.