Soham Salvation Army is closing for good next month - 120 years after first opening its doors
- Credit: Archant
Soham Salvation Army is closing for good next month after 120 years at the heart of the town.
The church on Bushel Lane is shutting its doors on Sunday March 4 – after one last service from 2.30-3.30pm.
Maureen Summers, key holder, said: “It’s very sad but the closure is nothing to do with us – it’s come from head office.
“We’ve only known for about a week but it’s because we’ve had a drop off in the number of people using the building.
“It’s not just us though, it’s quite widespread.”
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Despite the bad news, Maureen and the rest of the Soham Salvation Army members are determined to “go out with a bang.
“We will be having a service with the band playing - which we don’t normally do - and there’ll be tea and refreshments.
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“Everyone is welcome. Please come along – we want to go out with a bang.”
She thinks the closure is also because the current Salvation Army officer, Major Colin Harrod, is retiring and the charity has a shortage of officers who are trained.
“They have nobody who can take over and we’ve got to pay for their problem, it seems. “We’ve been doing lots of coffee mornings for a long time now, and have had our head above water financially - but they are saying the numbers are too low.
“We’ve been doing our best.”
Mr Harrod said: “The fact I’m retiring is a lot of the problem. We don’t really have huge numbers of people and I think finding a replacement for me would be difficult at the moment.”
A spokesman for The Salvation Army said: “It is with great regret that after consultation and with prayerful consideration we had to make the difficult decision to close our church in Soham where we have served the community for many years. Our final church service will be held on Sunday March 4.
“As a church and charity, which is dedicated to caring for people who are vulnerable or in need, we were finding it difficult to continue our church and community work due to decreasing attendance and the limited availability of local leadership.
“We will be reflecting on the future of the building to determine how it can best serve the town going forward.
“We have met with our congregation to make certain they will be welcomed into nearby churches, including Salvation Army churches.”