Volunteers needed at Ipswich Priory Salvation Army shop and cafe

published on 31 May 2017

[Image: Our volunteers Maureen and John Gordon]

The Salvation Army on Queensway in Priory Heath is appealing for new volunteers to help in their charity shop and café.

The church and community centre offers a range of wellbeing activities and support for older people and people with special needs. The café is a popular social space that people use after attending activities. It serves quality homemade cakes and lunches at affordable prices, and like with the charity shop next door, all profits are reinvested back into running community services.

Church leader Major Joanna Todd said: “Our dedicated team of café and shop volunteers are a lifeline to keeping our centre open so that local older people and people with special needs can come together and receive compassionate support, a listening ear and practical help.

“The problem is that our current volunteers aren’t getting any younger so we desperately need to increase our team and share the load. So don’t worry if you can only offer a few hours a week – we’d love to hear from you. We’re a diverse and inclusive family here at The Salvation Army and welcome volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.”

Weekly activities at The Salvation Army include music therapy and keep fit groups for adults with special needs, art and craft groups, coffee mornings and lunch clubs for older people, as well as pre-school groups run by Sure Start and English language classes.

Two volunteers who would value some extra help are Maureen and John Gordon (aged 80 and 87), who last week celebrated their second wedding anniversary (23 May) – they were the first couple of be married in the refurbished Salvation Army hall.

Maureen leads the craft group every Tuesday morning and the art group every Friday morning while John volunteers in the charity shop.

Maureen said: “I’ve been volunteering with The Salvation Army for more than 12 years now. My groups are so noisy - we always have a laugh!

[Image: Maureen with her artwork]

“A lot of the people who come are older people facing mental health problems and others have learning difficulties – but everyone is welcome.

“I don’t teach, I help - I let them do what they want to do. The art and craft isn’t the important bit, it’s the talking and socialising. My aim is always that people leave with a smile on their face. Some people haven’t spoken to anyone all week, others are facing difficult times so I always make sure that I welcome everyone by name - I want them to feel they are part of something and that they belong.

“I do wish I was ten years younger - there is so much potential at this place and I worry about taking time off. I don’t want to let people down. We really could do with some more volunteers to join the team.”

For more information about volunteering with The Salvation Army, please contact Major Jo via ipswich.priory@salvationarmy.org.uk or call 01473 710721.