Plans are confirmed and building work is now under way to house the new Clitheroe Church and Community Centre of The Salvation Army as it has outgrown its current base.
The former court house on Lowergate, which operated as a job centre for the town until 2016, has been revealed as the new building, which has been vacant since October 2016, and will see The Salvation Army’s new Church and Community Centre open later this year.
The refurbishment of the premises will feature a new kitchen, community room, café, charity shop and church.
The building, which was purchased by the international church and charity in June 2017, will see the Clitheroe Corps take up new modern premises featuring characteristics of the
old court house and charm of the past.
Capt. Elizabeth Smit, leader of the Clitheroe Church and Community Centre, said: “It has come to the point where we have outgrown our current premises and we really need
to move to continue to grow our church and carry on giving our support to the local community, extending our work. Our new premises will mean that we can reach out to more people and meet the different and ever changing needs of the local community, which is much needed in Clitheroe.
"The Ribble Valley is perceived as affluent and that there isn’t much poverty in the town, but the reality is very different. Poverty is everywhere and due to the area’s reputation; people in poverty are often overlooked.”
The Salvation Army has been part of the traditional market town for over 130 years, opening in January 1889, and has operated from its current site, which is across the road from where its new home will be, for over 50 years. William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army and the organisation’s first General, originally visited Clitheroe in July 1906 with the borough council presenting him with a welcome certificate at the time.
Capt. Elizabeth Smith added: “We have had a lot of support from the people of Clitheroe over the years and want to give something back. Our aim is to create a space where people can feel warm, welcome and comfortable and we hope that our new home will do just that!”
The new premises will be the first that The Salvation Army has owned in the 130 years it has been supporting the local community, as it has occupied rented buildings since its
opening in 1889, and building work has already begun at the derelict site with work expected to be completed in the autumn of this year.
Territorial Envoy Brenda Wise, for The Salvation Army, Clitheroe, added: “We are thankful to all who over the years have continued to support our work. Our new activities will
involve the purchase of furnishings, and equipment and we are, as always, on a tight budget, and would be humbly grateful for any donations to help us acquire what we need to continue reaching out to our community.”
Whilst building work is under way, the Clitheroe Corps will still operate at its current premises on Lowergate and activities will remain unaffected.