While we have been operating from 32 Castle Foregate since March, Wednesday June 30 2022 was a very special day for the Ark when the Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Anna Turner, and one of our clients, Ang, unveiled a plaque to officially open our new home.
Attending the event were volunteers, clients, representatives from partner organisations and other supporters watched the special occasion; we were also delighted other local dignitaries, including the Rt Revd Sarah Bullock, Bishop of Shrewsbury, Selina Graham, High Sheriff of Shropshire, Shrewsbury mayor, Councillor Elisabeth Roberts and Nicola Lowery, Assistant Police & Crime Commissioner accepted our invitation to celebrate this important moment in the charity’s 50-year history.
We are grateful too for the continued support of local media, with BBC Radio Shropshire, My Shrewsbury and Shropshire Star all covering the event.
Shrewsbury mayor, Councillor Elisabeth Roberts, told Shropshire Star’s Senior Report, Nick Humpries, "We could all be in this position. As an ex-care kid, this could have been me and, on a few occasions, it nearly was. These people are part of our community and we need to respect them as human beings. They all have interests, families and histories like everyone else.
"I'm really honoured to be here. It's all about people helping people. A lot of it has been done through volunteering. One guy was in here during Christmas week to finish off the downstairs painting. It's brilliant." Read the full article here.
Organising an event for over 60 people does take a bit of work, and as always, we do have some special thanks to give to people who helped make the day so special.
Our amazing Patron, Marcus Bean ensured everyone was fed and water by cooking us up some delectable delights to nibble on.
Sheila Waddington-Feather, who’s late husband the Rev John Waddington-Feather had been involved in the Ark for over 20 years brightened up the whole ground floor with some amazing flower arrangements.
Our thanks also go to the people who use our services. Everyone pulled together cleaning and tidying, and arranging furniture to make space for our guests; in particular, we’re grateful for Danny’s help in putting up the official opening plaque and curtain rail, several plaques acknowledging some of the incredible people who have played a significant part in the charity’s history and our lottery fund grant plaque.
And of course, we thank everyone who continues to support us, so we can support others.
50 years of helping those in need
In 1972, a group of volunteers got together and formed a charity ‘to offer aid to those in need’. The first Day Centre was on the site of Old St Chad’s Church every evening 7 – 9 pm and, for a short while, on Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoons. The facilities at Old St Chad’s were not ideal, with no heating, water, lavatory, or privacy for those seeking help….
Fast forward 50 years and the charity’s day centre at 32 Castle Foregate, couldn’t be more different; as well as dinning and areas to relax in, there are individual therapy rooms, activity areas, an industrial-standard kitchen, showers, washing machines and driers.
Moving into the new premises has enabled us to expand activities and support services including GP clinics, mental health and counselling sessions, addiction abstinence programmes and heptology clinics. Plus, people can get involved in personal skills classes including literacy and computer sessions, creative writing, sculpture and art activities.
In the words of one of Ian Somervaille, one of our long-standing Trustees: “I did feel just a tinge of ‘closure’ at times, thinking of all the effort and labour, not to mention hoping and crossing of fingers, that had gone into creation of the ‘new Ark’; and therefore, that this has been the conclusion of a very significant episode in the Ark's life.
“But of course, it's not a conclusion, it's just the beginning of the next chapter of a gripping and heart-warming tale.”
We are sure the founders of the charity are proud of what our amazing team of staff and volunteers, and the people and organisations we work with have achieved; good things happen when everyone comes together.
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