EMPOWERING people is the message at the heart of a community project visited by a Sunderland MP.
During the visit, Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, heard how residents in Southwick, one of the UK’s most deprived areas, are being encouraged to achieve their full potential.
The Salvation Army community project at Austin House Family Centre, in Shakespeare Road, is based in one of the UK’s top five per cent of most deprived areas.
The church and charity provides various programmes, from organised activities to educational courses and employment advice services developed in line with community needs.
Its five well-attended breakfast clubs – open to children and their carers – started as a result of a parent entering the building to get warm before the school opened.
Ms Elliott visited the project and heard at first hand people’s experiences of living in Southwick and the support they receive.
Project manager Graham Wharton said: ‘We appreciate Julie visiting Southwick Community Project and taking the opportunity to meet us.
“The Salvation Army is committed to building up our community in Southwick.
“While some describe the area as deprived, we see hope and potential and are dedicated to offering support and practical help, to raising people’s aspirations and empowering people to achieve their full potential.”
Ms Elliott said: “It was great to meet so many people from the local community who use the centre and to listen to what an important role it plays in their lives.
“I welcome the work the Salvation Army does in providing opportunities for the people of Southwick.”