19 September 2016 - 12:54pm
The Salvation Army’s Pottergate Advice and Refreshment Centre for people in need welcomed Shadow Defence Secretary, Clive Lewis MP, last Friday (16 September) to raise awareness of homelessness in Norwich city centre.
The MP for Norwich South met with Salvation Army staff who gave him a tour of the drop-in centre which provides support to anyone over the age of 16 who is in need, vulnerable, rough-sleeping or homeless. Service users were then given the opportunity to share their personal experiences with Clive Lewis MP and discuss the issues surrounding homelessness in Norwich.
The Salvation Army’s Pottergate Advice and Refreshment Centre (ARC) supports people on their journey towards a more fulfilling life. Staff and volunteers offer professional advice on a variety of issues and facilitate engagement with programmes and learning activities that equip service users for the future. From one-to-one job search support, hygiene facilities and emergency food and supplies provision, the centre combines compassionate support, with a listening ear and practical help.
Mr Lewis said: “It was a pleasure to be able to visit the Pottergate Advice and Refreshment Centre (ARC) - a drop-in run by The Salvation Army to support those in Norwich who are vulnerable or experiencing homelessness. Here, as well as offering basic amenities such as food, shower facilities and emergency clothing, they connect people with the appropriate help and advice services so their situation can be improved.
“The ARC sees an average of 1124 visits each month. Although it’s upsetting to know that so many people in our city need help in this way, I’m proud of the great work The Salvation Army are doing to make a difference. I was able to see this first hand during my visit to ARC, where I also learnt more about other initiatives they run in Norwich such as the Soup Run.
“I’ll lend my support to The Salvation Army in whatever way I can going forward so this fantastic work can continue to happen.”
Major Derek Jones, The Salvation Army’s Divisional Commander for Anglia, said: ‘We have a long history of offering practical support to people who are vulnerable or in need in Norwich city centre.
“Our church and community centre on St Giles Street, soup run, charity shop on Lower Goat Lane and Pottergate drop-in centre demonstrate The Salvation Army’s commitment to providing opportunities for transformation in people’s lives.
“We were glad to welcome Clive Lewis MP to our Pottergate drop-in centre and share our expertise and policy recommendations. We hope the conversations Mr Lewis had with our service users increased his awareness of the challenges local people in need face.”
The Salvation Army has been have been a leading provider of social services for more than 130 years. The Pottergate drop-in centre is part of a network of homelessness services run by the Church and charity throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland supporting more than 8,000 people and including Lifehouses (residential centres for people experiencing homelessness), floating support services and church-based community programmes.