Rothwell Salvation Army has opened its new church and community centre as part of its continued commitment to serving people in the town.
The opening took place on Saturday (November 26) with a celebratory church service and ribbon cutting by Lord of the Manor Zandra Powell and Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Caffull, principal of the national college for Salvation Army ministers - the event was attended by more than 130 people.
The redevelopment on Bridge Street brings The Salvation Army’s church and community services under one roof after moving out of the old church building in New Street. The new community hub in the Bridge Street building uses the space behind the existing Salvation Army coffee and charity shop and is fully equipped to serve families and older people with a new kitchen, worship hall, community lounge, computer suite and prayer room. The community lounge is named after Councillor Alan Mills, who died earlier this year and played a key role in the redevelopment project at The Salvation Army on Bridge Street as a member of the advisory board.
Majors Pauline and Richard Cook have been the leaders of Rothwell Salvation Army since 2008 and opened the coffee and charity shop on Bridge Street in 2012.
Major Richard said: “The Salvation Army has been at the heart of this community for more than 130 years – a reliable presence dedicated to helping people experience life in all its fullness. The completion of this building project not only marks a milestone in our history but also demonstrates our continued commitment to serving the Rothwell community today and in the years to come. With our new community hub we are better equipped to support local families and older people.”
In addition to a church service every Sunday and running a coffee and charity shop Monday to Thursday, Rothwell Salvation Army offers computer skills courses for older people, support for people looking for employment, scouts, cubs, beavers, parent and toddlers, social groups, craft groups, prayer and bible study groups, as well as offering work experience for local students from Montsaye Academy.
Helen Gatehouse, Work Experience Co-ordinator from Montsaye Academy on Greening Road, said: “The Salvation Army has for a number of years had our students on work experience, where they have had the opportunity to grow in confidence and support the local community in the charity and coffee shop. Pauline and Richard Cook are always keen to help whenever requested and students that no longer attend the school still love to pop in for a coffee and a catch-up. Students that are often shy and nervous about the thought of work experience blossom and thrive at The Salvation Army. All the staff are so kind and just want the best for our students.”
One of the more recent community services on offer at The Salvation Army is Employment Plus Local – a centre where people can find information and guidance on their journey into employment within a supportive environment. Attending an Employment Plus Local is entirely voluntary and is available free of charge to any person who is looking for work.
Chris Bates, a church member of The Salvation Army who also volunteers every week by running the employment service, said: “Here at The Salvation Army we try and recognise the changing needs in the local community and respond to meet those needs in a practical way – Employment Plus Local is an example of that.
“We’ve only been going a few months but we’ve already supported a number of people to find employment or work experience. It’s a good feeling knowing you’ve helped someone. Each person has different needs so a listening ear is just as important as passing on skills to help people find work.”
The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus Local service offers a person-centred approach and includes skills assessments, guidance and resources for CV and letter writing, access to computers, and interview preparation.
Major Richard added: “We are so excited about welcoming the people of Rothwell into our new home – we are there when you need us, offering compassionate support, a listening ear and practical help.”
For more information about Employment Plus Local, or any other services, please visit The Salvation Army on Bridge Street or salvationarmy.org.uk/rothwell.
The Salvation Army charity and coffee shop is open Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4pm – all profits are reinvested back into the local community.
Employment Plus Local is open every Thursday from 10am to 12pm for one to one appointments.