World of Sunderland homeless men featured in new book

James Tate, resident at Swan Lodge.
James Tate, resident at Swan Lodge.
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HOMELESS men at an award-winning centre are featured in a new book.

Portraits – A Month in the Life of the Salvation Army, gives a fascinating insight into the charity’s work.

Sunderland’s Swan Lodge and Austin House in Southwick both feature in the book, which contains more than 500 images of Salvation Army work in communities captured by members, volunteers, employees and clients.

An entire section is dedicated to Southwick Community Project, which provides children’s activities and food parcels for struggling families, among other things.

Graham Wharton, who has led the project since June 1998, said: “We are thrilled to be a part of Portraits and it is encouraging and humbling to see what our colleagues across the country do in the various aspects of the Salvation Army’s work.

“This is about us doing practical Christianity; that we don’t judge or condemn. We just help. We are there when you need us, whoever you are. The book reminds that we serve a great God.”

The hardback includes images of Swan Lodge’s award-winning programmes that have helped its 65 residents return to independent living.

The Soup and Sandwich initiative sees the men preparing and serving food to churches and the annual Stars in their Eyes competition.

Centre manager Christine Tait said: “It is fantastic to have Swan Lodge in this amazing book.”

Twitter: @janethejourno

Swan Lodge resident James Tate is helping create a comic book based on his experiences of homelessness.

The 48-year-old said: “The Salvation Army has helped me a lot. I don’t think I would still be here without them.

“I spent years on the streets, just trying to stay alive. Coming here was the best thing that could have happened.”

His comic book, Belief In Action, is loosely based on his own experiences with centre tutor Sean Robson.

For more information about Portraits or the work of the Salvation Army in Sunderland, call Swan Lodge on 565 5411.