Salvation Army marks milestone after helping 3,000 homeless people in Skegness

The Salvation Army has marked a milestone after helping 3,000 homeless people rebuild their lives Skegness.
A client testing out the new gym at the lifehouse.A client testing out the new gym at the lifehouse.
A client testing out the new gym at the lifehouse.

A service run by the Christian church and charity known as the Lifehouse at Witham Lodge has been assisting vulnerable people for 21 years by providing supported accommodation.

Its latest investment is an outdoor gym, to build people’s mental well-being and improve their physical health.

The new gym was installed in the garden of the Lifehouse in July and the equipment includes a sky stepper, cross-trainer, rowing machine and pedal bicycle.

The new gym was funded by donations at Christmas from a local business and a member of the public, both of whom wish to remain anonymous.

Manager of the Lifehouse, Mr George Hockings said: “We are delighted to have this new gym on the premises.

"Ever since it has been installed, our clients have been using the equipment to improve their health. With the costs of gym membership unaffordable for many, this is a welcome addition to our services and we would like to thank all those that donated cash to us at Christmas.

“This really makes our clients feel valued and provides them with an outlet while they recover from their homeless experience, and begin to move on with their lives.”

Witham Lodge has 26 single rooms and four flats, plus another 11 beds at other sites in Skegness. Since October 2020, The Salvation Army Lifehouse opened in June 2001 and has been part of the Lincolnshire housing related support partnership.

One of the clients is Stephen (whose real name has not been given to protect his identity), who ended up in Skegness after returning from Spain when his long-term relationship ended.

He ran a successful business in Spain but had to return to the UK without many of his documents and so needed to prove that he was a UK Citizen.

When he arrived in Skegness he slept rough for several nights. One night his tent that was slashed, thankfully, when he wasn’t in it,. He also slept in bus shelters.

Stephen said: “I was at my lowest, I couldn’t see the light of the end of the tunnel. I had no hope.”

After being helped by the Lifehouse to rebuild his life, he re-trained and volunteered his time for the emergency rescue services.

George Hockings, Manager at the centre since 2003, said becoming homeless could happen to anyone. He said: “We have helped more than 3000 people since we opened our doors back in 2001.

"Homelessness can affect anyone, and it certainly doesn’t discriminate against highly successful people with businesses or careers either.

“We help people to tackle the complex reasons for their homelessness like mental ill-health, relationship break-down, domestic violence, trauma or addiction.

"We are here to help people move on positively with their lives after a period of homelessness.

“For some, tackling their reasons for homelessness takes only a short time, while others may need longer-term professional help. Here at Witham Lodge Lifehouse we walk alongside people to get this help.”

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