The Salvation Army has a long history of walking alongside people who are homeless or with broken lives. The Leamington Spa corps (church) is no exception and for years had helped out with food and old furniture.
The Way Ahead Project, formerly known as the Homeless Action Project (HAP) started around the year 2000. The Salvation Army officers (ministers) at the time were running a small café which attracted a number of people who were rough sleeping or homeless. As the officers found ways to meet their needs the HAP was born. Eden Villa hostel grew out of the HAP in 2003 later providing accommodation and support for 11 people.
In late 2008 the Salvation Army teamed up with the Saturday Friendship Group, based at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic church. We started opening on a Saturday, involving volunteers and providing a range of activities and consciously trying to create a positive community and culture where clients could take ownership of their project and contribute something back to wider society.
In May 2012 we changed our name to 'The Way Ahead Project' to reflect our work helping people move on with their lives and the fact that we don't just work with people who are homeless.
Over 120 people visit us each month for our drop in, advice and activities. Some of them are rough sleeping, or sleeping on friends floors or in poor quality accommodation. Others have addictions, mental health problems or just need somewhere they can come and see a friendly face and be accepted.
Our clients have been involved in putting on an art exhibition, producing our own newsletter, contributing to and cooking for volunteer training sessions, turning our courtyard into a flourishing garden and helping the SYDNI Centre with theirs, made a promotional film, going on walks and attending first aid, art, cooking, book club and film sessions.
Real people and partnerships
One of our key values is the belief that each person is created and loved by God and that they have something unique to contribute. Being part of a community means that we get to build relationships with people and not just see them as a set of ‘problems’. Too often we see people pushed from ‘pillar to post’ not getting the support they need when they need it. That’s why we’re keen to work in real partnership with as many organisations as possible so that we can help to provide services that are right for each individual when they’re ready to engage.
We’ve already teamed up with the NHS (public health), St. Mary’s Church and Warwickshire Housing and Drugs Support Scheme and worked with the police and local businesses to try and address local problems of antisocial behaviour. We’re keen to work with many more organisations in the future to pioneer new ways of helping people caught up in addictions or homelessness to turn their lives around.
The Way Ahead Project is part of the Salvation Army. Over 120 people visit us each month for our drop in, advice and activities. The homeless community can be a negative place, but we are creating a positive culture where people can get their lives back on track, discover their gifts and skills and contribute something back to their community and wider society.
We don't look at people as a set of problems, but as unique people created by God, in relationship with each other.
Find out how you can get involved.
Thanks to our donors
The majority of our funding comes from individuals' generous donations, with some from the Salvation Army itself. We also receive help from churches, particularly St. Peter's, businesses and some grant making bodies including:
Leamington Town Council (through St. Peter's Saturday Friendship Group)
Jesuit Social Fund (through St. Peter's Saturday Friendship Group)
Warwick District Council (for Way Ahead Plus)
Thank you to everyone who contributes financially, large or small. Without your help we wouldn't be able to stay open and help people change their lives around.