UK leaders officially open new home for Newcastle Corps
published on 2 May 2023
A new Salvation Army building in Newcastle has been officially declared open by the church and charity’s UK leaders.
The Newcastle City Temple Worship and Community Centre in Stamfordham Road in the Cowgate area of the city is the first permanent home for The Salvation Army in the city in 14 years.
Guests gathered on Saturday (22 April) for a dedication service and official flag raising. Commissioners Anthony and Gillian Cotterill cut the ribbon and unveiled a plaque to declare the building open. They also led a special Sunday worship.
Also in attendance were the Divisional Leaders for the North East, Majors David and Gillian Burns, Lieutenant Colonels Alan and Janet Read and Deputy Lieutenant Nigel Jamie Martin OBE, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central Chi Onwurah, along with Newcastle City Councillors Cllr Ian Tokell and Cllr Sylvia Copley.
Commissioner Cotterill said: “I’m very privileged to be part of the celebrations - to celebrate all that has been, the journey and now the future. After all these years of work, vision and construction, I’m delighted to see the building complete and being inhabited by wonderful people who are really keen to make a difference in this part of Newcastle. We pray God’s blessing on the members and this community who will make this happen. Well done Newcastle City Temple Corps.”
The dedication ceremony included music from the Newcastle City Temple Band and Songsters and a solo performance from vocalist Hayley Stubbs of Derby Central Corps. A new march was composed for the occasion by musician Steve Gibson and a new Songster song was written by Stephen Poxon and arranged by Andrew Mair.
The building was completed just before Christmas, which allowed the corps to collect and distribute presents for 550 children as part of The Salvation Army’s Christmas Present Appeal. They have also been operating as a Welcome Warm Space, serving hot drinks, soup and a roll, a worship hall, running youth activities and hosting dementia singing sessions.
Major Liz Hancock, who leads Newcastle City Temple Corps and has been at the helm of the building project, said: “It’s good that we are finally here as it’s been a long time coming! What we’re really excited about now we’re officially open is getting on with the mission and ministry. We’ve been doing that for the past few months, but everything has been building up to this celebration weekend and now we can channel our energies into doing what we’re here to do.
“Already we’ve seen a 40 per cent increase in our Sunday worship with people coming from the local community. We have a notice outside inviting people to drop in for a cuppa and we’ve had a great response to that, people coming in for a drink and a look round.
“The building has delivered more than we were expecting, people see the outside and think it’s quite small but are amazed at how open and spacious it is. Our thanks go to everyone who helped get us to this stage as well as the Brunswick Methodist Church who have housed us for the past 14 years.”
Major Liz is working with the local community to develop a programme of activities to meet the need and is encouraging people to drop by with suggestions.
Major David Burns, Divisional Commander for the North East Division, said: “It’s been a long journey, but it’s great to be here in Cowgate and we are looking forward to all that is going to open up to us. We’re so grateful to all those who have worked hard to bring this day to fruition and it’s great we’re already seeing a positive impact on the community.
“This facility is not just for the Corps, it is for the community and we want to make it as open and as welcoming as possible. I think people have felt that already as they’ve come along during the day or for the coffee drop-in. It’s really exciting and we’re looking forward to all that God has for us.”
The Salvation Army has a 143-year history in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Since 1889, the City Temple Corps was based between Bath Lane and Westgate Road, however spiralling costs associated with the building forced them to leave in 2008. For the past 14 years, they have been housed in the Brunswick Methodist Church in Brunswick Place.