When The Salvation Army’s earliest activities commenced in the United Kingdom, the people Australians have come to know as ‘the Salvos’ were demonstrating their love of God by feeding and clothing hungry children, addressing inequities and helping abused women exit the sex industry.
The pioneer Salvos were out and about, busily housing homeless people or sheltering families from abusive fathers - often as a result of alcohol and other substances. They assisted, accommodated and employed the unemployed and the ‘undeserving poor’; those whom society had deemed unemployable. They cared for everyone left out of an industrialised future.
How inspiring for us to reflect on our proud past, and see that our social programmes continue to
provide support and comfort to anyone in need. The Salvation Army’s 2013/14 financial year social
programme data tells me that our work has expanded in scope and sophistication - it is now largely carried out by well-equipped professional social work staff, ensuring we continue to effectively
advocate for those most in need.
People matter. Practical, dignified support makes a difference. Lives enhanced are lives to be cherished. It’s our starting point. We know we make a difference when we see hopes realised, people
empowered, and communities sticking up for those doing it the hardest.
That’s why The Salvation Army, in partnership with government, has developed and opened The Beacon to house men experiencing homelessness in Perth.
That’s why, partnering with Westpac, The Salvation Army has provided online self-help financial
That’s why the Northside Salvos in Corio outside of Geelong, Victoria (one of Australia’s most hard-pressed postcodes) host playgroups, and have opened a $65,000 playground to provide a safe and welcoming place for children.
That’s why the Salvos enter into award-winning accommodation partnerships in South Australia, and
run premier aged-care centres for marginalised Australians, and why we work with people addicted to
substances (winning six out of eight Victorian non-residential treatment tenders in the process).
That’s why The Salvation Army continues to train people in suicide prevention and postvention work,
shelter family and domestic violence survivors, locate missing persons, operate out-of-home care
networks and provide exhaustive community support services that feed and clothe those who need
It’s also why we are the largest provider of homelessness services in Australia and why we advocate
to governments on behalf of our clients, to encourage them to help Australia work towards a more equitable reality.
It’s why we help keep the fridge running, the phone connected and the lights shining.
People matter. Practical, dignified support makes a difference. Lives enhanced are lives to be cherished. Those words remain true and relevant. They are backed up by The Salvation Army’s actions.