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Spiritual Life: Captain John Clifton, Ilford Salvation Army

PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 August 2017

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Ilford Town Centre is busy!

There are developments going up and buildings coming down. Roads are blocked off and travel routes disrupted. There is noise and dust and the hoardings fail to hide the messiness.

Alongside this, there is a sense of expectation. What will the changes look like? Will it feel more like home or will we feel “built out”?

One of the buildings being demolished now is the old Gildersons funeral parlour at 1a Chadwick Road. This is because of Project Malachi, our plan to build a pop-up hostel and workshop for Ilford (popuphostel.org).

With 60 rough sleepers on the last official count, our borough has the eighth highest rate of rough sleeping in the country, and the third highest in London.

When we realise that each of those 60 people are our brothers and sisters, members of our community, homelessness is no longer an abstract issue. We cannot stand idly by while our neighbours’ lives are cut short on a bed of concrete.

After all, have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then would we be faithless to one another?

I am so proud that The Salvation Army is part of this project, stepping out with our brothers and sisters from The Sikh Network, the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations, City Gates, All Saints Woodford Wells and supporters from many other organisations.

Go to popuphostel.org to learn about how you can get involved.

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