Volunteer ‘army’ celebrated for helping vulnerable people in Edinburgh

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Salvation Army volunteers in Edinburgh have been recognised as part of Volunteers’ Week (3 to 9 June) for the help and support they give to vulnerable people.

The Salvation Army’s Ashbrook House and Gardens near Fettes held an open day to celebrate the ‘army’ of people who regularly give up their time in service to support people affected by dementia, unemployment, addictions or families struggling with the cost-of-living, and much more.

A green oasis in the city, Ashbrook has a community cafe with a therapeutic garden certified dementia-friendly and provides an escape for the local community, residents who live at The Salvation Army’s Eagle Lodge Care Home next door, as well as the wider dementia community in the capital.

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Staff from The Salvation Army’s Skills and Wellbeing Centre based at Granton in the north of the city were also there to discuss its work in the local area and across the city. The Skills and Wellbeing Centre in Granton is funded by the Good Things Foundation and provides a range of support, either one-to-one, or in group workshops or remotely. Topics include digital inclusion, employability and support with benefits.

Salvation Army volunteers and staffSalvation Army volunteers and staff
Salvation Army volunteers and staff

Cara McGurk, Ashbrook Centre manager, is hoping the event will inspire more people to get involved in volunteering for The Salvation Army.

She said: “At the heart of everything we do is our volunteers. We are lucky to have support from people of all ages and backgrounds. They are truly amazing.

"Volunteering can help improve both mental and physical health, create friendships and give people a sense of purpose when they know they are giving back to their community. Another skill we provide for our volunteers is dementia training. If you are interested in volunteering please get in touch with us. You do not have to join The Salvation Army and we’ve got lots of opportunities – everyone is welcome.

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“Our dementia-friendly cafe serves home-cooked food and home baking with a variety of seating and tables that can accommodate people in wheelchairs. There are four meeting rooms available to hire for events and training. It’s all about the atmosphere people are coming into; peaceful, restful and relaxing, light and airy.

“Our gardens provide a space for therapeutic recovery gardening in formal, allotment and woodland spaces. People experiencing addiction, homelessness and poor mental health will be able to enjoy gardening, alongside volunteers from the community who enjoy the health benefits of growing and nurturing people and plants.”

If you are interested in volunteering with The Salvation Army in Edinburgh, please contact Cara at [email protected] or follow on Facebook page by looking for: Ashbrook Edinburgh.

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