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Richard Ottaway MP visits lifeline for homeless people in Croydon

Richard Ottaway, MP for South Croydon, visited a Salvation Army church (corps) and community centre in Croydon (26th November 2012) that is offering a lifeline to homeless people, helping them to overcome social exclusion and change their lives for the better.

The Well Project at Croydon Citadel Corps in Booth Road supports people who are living marginalised and excluded lifestyles because of homelessness, addictions and mental health issues. Up to 90 people come to the project each week for a nutritious meal, a hot shower and a clean set of clothes.

The project is more than just a soup kitchen. It aims to help people break out of homelessness for good, offering access to professional advice on employment, housing and addiction issues, as well as the services of an NHS nurse and a chiropodist. It is the only organisation in the local area which offers such an extensive range of services for homeless people.

Richard Ottaway MP toured the corps building and visited the Well Project, meeting with staff, volunteers, service users and the corps officer Major Roger Batt.

Mr Ottaway said: "The Salvation Army has been helping the vulnerable and marginalised in Croydon for more than a hundred years, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit today and see how they are continuing to support people in need. Their Well Project helps to improve the lives of homeless people and, as the weather gets colder, the support it offers is more important than ever. It is encouraging to see that Croydon Salvation Army is a church dedicated to making a difference in its community, and I look forward to my next visit."

Croydon Citadel Corps Salvation Army provides a wide range of community services for people of all ages, from a pre-school providing a safe, stimulating environment for local children, to a lunch club providing company and support for older people. A food parcel service supports the community's vulnerable people in need of help.

Major Roger Batt said: "We are pleased that Richard Ottaway MP visited the Well Project and experienced first-hand the way The Salvation Army is supporting the community in Croydon. Without our volunteers we would not be able to run these vital services, and I would like to encourage anyone who wants to make a real difference to the lives of homeless people, older people and other people who are in need in our community to get in touch. We need your help."

If you are interested in volunteering with The Salvation Army in Croydon, please contact Community Services Director Chris Waldock at  for more information.