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This week Ayr Salvation Army announced a weekend of celebration events to mark the opening of their newly renovated building in the town’s John Street.
Three main events this weekend from Friday 26 April – Sunday 28 April will include a visit by Fiona Hyslop, Scottish’s Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, an open door day for the community to come along and see around the building with special guests Lt Col Ivor and Carol Telfer representing UK leadership of The Salvation Army who will unveil a commemorative plaque.
Corps Officers Lieutenants Tim and Cheryl Stone with Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MP
A commemorative plaque marks The Salvation Army's building opening
There will also be a celebration worship service on Sunday morning at 10.45am.
Before the purchase of the property, The Salvation Army had been using a number of other church premises to run its various community programmes and worship. The church has grown substantially in that time, one of the highlights is the growth of the Community Choir, where more than 100 people from all walks of life meet to sing – the success of this and other programmes meant that a more long term solution was needed.
The purchase and development of the property forms part of the long term strategic vision for The Salvation Army’s West Scotland Division with similar projects planned for Glasgow City Centre and Bellshill in North Lanarkshire during 2013/14.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MP addresses members of the community.
Explaining the background, Major Russell Wyles, Divisional Leader of The Salvation Army in the West of Scotland, said: “This is a great day for our mission and for the people of Ayr, we recognised the needs of the community in Wallacetown and through sale proceeds of other buildings and legacy funding we have been able to provide this high quality building to serve the community for many years ahead. The opening will afford us an exciting opportunity to demonstrate our belief of changing people’s lives within communities and enhances the already close bonds we have with the community under the strong leadership of Tim and Cheryl.”
The weekend of events will allow the community to see for themselves the new facilities on offer along with the investment and commitment which has been made to the area.
Tim Stone, Commanding Officer from The Salvation Army's Ayr Community Church said, "This is a defining moment in the mission of The Salvation Army in Ayr; the opening of our new building is providing a firm foundation for us to play a central part in the community. We believe we have been placed here to serve the needs of the local community and one of our first joint initiative's on an ecumenical level will be the collation and distribution of food parcels to those in need. We are preparing for the unknown impact the changes in the welfare system may have for vulnerable people in Wallacetown. Where there is need you will find the Salvation Army and we aim to be a strong advocate for people who need our help."
Tim continued: “The building will play an important role in the development of our church and community partnership work and we will look to incorporate a variety of activities to meet the needs of local people. We want The Salvation Army to be a hub for the community – a place where they can come to feel safe, welcomed, supported and at home. The activities in place will aim to appeal to as many people as possible from the community, young and old.”
Showcasing the work of Ayr Salvation Army throughout the years
The Corps run various projects and activities aimed at engaging with all areas of the local community from toddlers all the way through to older people. The acquisition and refurbishment will allow the continuation of this work as well as developing the community offering further.
Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “As a daughter of Ayr I was delighted to be present and to speak at the start of this important weekend of celebration for the Ayr Corps of the Salvation Army, and to hear something of the support that they provide in partnership with others for vulnerable and marginalised people in Ayr and South Ayrshire.
The doors are open at Ayr Salvation Army's recently revamped building for weekend-long celebrations
“I congratulate them on successfully refurbishing and taking possession of their magnificent new headquarters, which are an eloquent testimony to their commitment to the people of this community.
“The Scottish Government continues to value and appreciate the contribution that faith based organisations, such as the Salvation Army, make to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities today.”