Southampton MP visits The Booth Centre to see Salvation Army's work to tackle homelessness in the city

published on 3 May 2017

The addition of the new training room means The Booth Centre will now be able to provide additional support to help clients who are experiencing homelessness acquire even more vocational qualifications.

During his visit to The Salvation Army run accommodation and resettlement centre, the Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen heard more about the type of support provided to the men and women staying there.  

Matthew Smith, Service Manager at The Booth Centre explained to the MP about the challenges involved in helping their service users - many of whom have a range of complex needs - escape the cycle of homelessness.  

Matthew said; “When a client leaves here, I always tell them I never want to see them again.  I’m not being rude, it’s just because it’s our job to help them move on and make a permanent change so they’ll never be in these circumstances again.

“It’s the most rewarding job in the world but it’s also the most difficult because sometimes the rewards can seem few and far between.  But it’s the positive changes we make to people’s lives that make it all worthwhile. A client of ours who’s overcome serious alcohol issues has just started working as a sous chef at a local restaurant.  That’s a fantastic achievement and we’re all so proud of him.”

As well as providing compassionate support and practical help, The Booth Centre also runs social enterprises — including a café and delivery service, furniture workshop and room rental facilities — which service users are encouraged to get involved in to help develop vital skills and qualifications.  

With strong links to the local neighbourhood, The Booth Centre encourages members of the local community to visit or volunteer, alongside its service users; with the aim of improving social integration and breaking down the barriers to reintegration.