Partying with God

‘I had tried to find meaning in so many avenues – business, scouting, personal development and relationships – but didn’t try God,’ he said. ‘I ran from everything – even myself and the pressures that had been building up inside – but the more I ran, the more I ran into Jesus.’

A place to belong

Mum Jacky says: "Matthew has a number of disabilities and has the understandings and capabilities of a young child. He loves attending Stoke Newington and when I was taking lessons to prepare me to become an adherent – but I then decided to become a soldier – he asked me what I was doing. I explained the lessons I was taking and Matthew decided he would like to become a member of The Salvation Army, too."

Jacky's journey

Jacky recalls: ‘Mum had 10 children and wanted an hour’s peace at the weekend so six or seven of us would march off to Sunday school!'

Away from church for 18 years, Jacky felt God was calling her to attend a Salvation Army corps (church). But it wasn't until He opened a corps in Stoke Newington – the previous one had closed many years ago – that she decided to attend. Jacky said: 'I remember praying to God: "If you want me in The Salvation Army, you can open a corps in Stoke Newington." '

Thursday Club

Every Thursday Worthing Salvation Army opens its doors for the best party in town. “We have 88 members on our register and we get new people coming most weeks,” says Liz, one of the volunteers that help to run the club.

With each week there's a different main activity. “Last night we ran a disco, next week will be karaoke, and the week after will be a games and film night. Then we start again with disco. We always have a Christmas disco and meal and give out gifts. We also hold a summer ball before the summer break.”

Sarah's story

Sarah moved into Catherine Booth House in Portsmouth with her two sons in September 2013 after her home was condemned.

Before that she had lived in a women’s refuge.

She said: “The people at Catherine Booth House are great. They helped me work with my son, who has behavioural issues, and he has improved an awful lot. If my son lost his temper they would support me and make sure my little one was safe and looked after.

Sport for good

Churches from Orkney in the north to Stranraer in the south received additional funding from a special Commonwealth Games mission pot to run activities designed to establish a sporting legacy.

Former Airdrie youth footballer Bobby Weir, The Salvation Army’s sports ministry co-ordinator in Scotland, is leading the initiative called Sport for Good to encourage communities to become more active.

Bobby said: 'Sport already plays an important role in many Salvation Army churches and centres across the UK, bringing not just physically benefits but helping unite communities.

Veronica's Volunteers

With experience of running two businesses in the town employing a small  team, Veronica brings with her some experience in human resources.

A chef's story

The Salvation Army’s Hadleigh Training Centre had been using recipes published by Chef Mike Darracott for its food preparation and service modules. Mike heard about, and identified with, the trainees’ struggles so offered to lead a training session.

 The training centre works to remove barriers trainees face on the path to employment and enables them to develop wider life skills, all the time supporting them as they gain belief in their own capabilities and prove these capabilities to others.