15 December 2016 - 1:05pm
Christmas came early for service users at The Salvation Army’s Ann Fowler Lifehouse in Liverpool as they were treated to a morning of festivities.
Local Salvation Army church, Walton Corps, arrived at the centre which provides accommodation and support to people experiencing homelessness laden with treats for service users. They spent time with service users, chatting and taking part in activities.
Major Sharon Duff, Church Leader of Walton Corp, said: “We visit Ann Fowler House once a month and as it’s nearly Christmas we really wanted to treat them and remind them that someone cares and are thinking of them.”
One of the service users, Pauline, has been living at Ann Fowler House since April and said: “It’s been lovely. Today they brought some colouring in with them and this is wonderful – really calming. It can be easy to think no one cares and this is reminder that someone does which makes a big difference. Today I’m smiling and that’s thanks to this visit.”
Everyone who attended received a card which included a quote from the Grinch - on one it said: “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more.” And on the other side: “May peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through.”
Major Sharon, along with volunteers, dropped off gifts bags which will be given to all the service users on Christmas morning. The bags have been put together by the corps and include a range of gifts including toiletries, hats and gloves knitted by volunteers, chocolate and jewellery also made by volunteers. There are 38 bags, one for each service user at Ann Fowler House.
Major Sharon, continued: “We believe that everyone should have something to open on Christmas morning and these bags are a real community effort. We knew how much chocolate we needed in advance so we had a countdown which we updated every time someone donated. Most of the gifts have been either made by someone or donated personally which, we hope, will remind those that receive them of the effort that’s gone into it for them because there are people out there, who they may not even know, who care about them as individuals.”
Stephanie Philips, manager of homelessness services in Liverpool, said: “It’s wonderful that Walton Corps were able to visit for Christmas – it makes such a difference when they come. They spend time with each service user, getting to know them. We believe that each service user is an individual and being able to treat them today just helps to reinforce that. The presents which they’ll open on Christmas morning will help to remind them of that. For our service users, homelessness is not who they are.”
The Salvation Army runs two Lifehouses in Liverpool which provide accommodation and support for people experiencing homelessness.
Walton Corps runs a busy programme for the whole community including families and older people.
There is a carol concert on Sunday 18th December, 4pm at Walton Corps – everyone is welcome.
The Salvation Army is a provider of Homelessness services throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
The church and charity believes providing a bed alone won't go far enough to solve the issues of homelessness. It is an expert in helping people who are experiencing homelessness achieve their goals and employs an experienced and skilled workforce. Staff walk alongside service users giving them support to reach their goal, whether that be employment, getting back in touch with family or beating an addiction. The Salvation Army will never give up on anyone and will give hope.