Every year Sarah* attends the SAFE School of Arts but for Sarah The Salvation Army is so much more than a summer school…
SAFE School of Arts is a Christian summer school for people with special needs. The week offers workshops in music, drama, dance, craft and sport and ends with a final festival of worship for friends and family, showcasing what the school has achieved together throughout the week.
Sarah, 34, was invited to the SAFE in 2003. When asked why she keeps going back year after year Sarah said: “I can make a long list: Because it’s to do with God, I’ve made so many special friends and The Salvation Army is so friendly and caring.
“I like everything at SAFE. The drama group with Keith is great. He has a good sense of humour. I also like the fellowship with everyone at SAFE.”
Soon after Sarah started attending SAFE the coffee shop she worked for closed down. Ann*, Sarah’s mum, shared the news with the staff at SAFE and they supported Sarah to find work experience at her local Salvation Army. With NVQ Levels 1 & 2 in catering Sarah cooks two times a week at the lunch club for the local community.
“She’s very independent,” said Ann. “She moved into her own place five years ago with friends who also have Down’s syndrome.”
Sarah also volunteers in a Salvation Army charity shop, helps with Salvation Army Rainbow and Brownie packs, and attends a Salvation Army church every Sunday.
“I do everything,” Sarah said.
Sarah’s involvement with The Salvation Army has greatly impacted her family. “The Salvation Army has become our life,” said Ann. “We go to church with Sarah on a Sunday, I’ve helped with Alpha groups, and I go to the Home League club during the week. My grandchild was dedicated at The Salvation Army and my other daughter got married at The Salvation Army.
“It’s such a caring place and it’s reassuring to know that if Sarah is finding life difficult there are other people around who are there to help and support her.”
*Names have been changed