Harpenden Salvation Army thanks 'incredibly generous' donors to new community centre
PUBLISHED: 11:33 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:36 24 October 2019
Harpenden Salvation Army has opened its new community centre thanks to support and donations from the public.
The redeveloped church and community centre opened following a £1.1 million building project, which was funded through donations from Salvation Army members, the public, legacies, grants, trust funds and fundraising events.
The new building includes two multi-purpose rooms, two meeting rooms which are being used by Harpenden's Citizens Advice Bureau on Mondays and Thursdays, and a vaulted worship hall with a stained-glass window designed by a St George's School pupil.
Colonels Lee and Debbie Graves, senior leaders for the Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland, led a dedication ceremony on Saturday, October 12, with music from the charity's brass band and choirs.
Captain Kenneth Guest, from Harpenden Salvation Army, said: "Everyone who has seen the building so far has loved that it is modern, accessible, bright, light and airy. We are extremely fortunate and blessed.
"This is the culmination of a huge amount of work by many people, both within our church and in the community. People have been incredibly generous and supportive.
"We must say a special thank you to our neighbours. The building works have been unavoidably disruptive and they have seen it through with grace.
"This building will give us the opportunity to give something back to the people of Harpenden and be there for the people who need us."
Major contributors to the project include Harpenden Trust, Harpenden Helping Hand, Mainrock Harpenden and The Bradbury Trust. Captain Kenneth himself raised £4,000 for the building's commercial kitchen with a sky dive in April last year.
He said: "Our previous building was so tired, inaccessible and awkwardly laid out. Christmas Day was especially difficult as we had to help our guests negotiate the stairs when many of them are older people with mobility issues."
The Harpenden branch of the charity hopes the new building will become a community hub with facilities and programmes offering practical, emotional and spiritual support.
These include a community restaurant, a toddler café, Lego Club and more.