The Salvation Army receives the Freedom of the City

The Salvation Army will receive the Freedom of the City at a special ceremony on Sunday 19 July 2015.

The honour is the highest recognition that the city can bestow to an individual or organisation. The charity is only the 53rd recipient of the award since 1906.

The Honorary Freedom of the City will be presented to members of The Salvation Army by the Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor John Peach. The award follows councillors backing a motion to bestow the charity with the honour at a council meeting in March.

The Salvation Army is primarily a church and is well-known for its charity work. The Army arrived in Peterborough in 1881 and this month the wider charity marks 150 years of service and ministry.

In Peterborough the organisation works tirelessly to help those in need. Their community centre delivers a range of services, including showering, laundry facilities and food parcels. Twice a week they hold a lunch club for the elderly as well as playing host to many community groups ranging from a dementia café to ante-natal classes.

They offer a debt advice service and operate a good neighbours scheme that supports the most vulnerable, visiting them at home and providing a listening ear as well as help in the garden and with their shopping.

The Army also arranges transport for victims of human trafficking, moving them to safe houses and offering them support and counselling.

Councillor John Peach, the Mayor of Peterborough, said: “The Salvation Army has helped the most vulnerable members of our community for over 130 years. The positive contribution that their work has made to Peterborough is immeasurable and they are incredibly deserving of our highest honour.

“On behalf of all Peterborough residents, young and old, past and present, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all of the Army’s members who have devoted their time to helping those most in need.”

Major Allister Versfeld from the Salvation Army said: "What motivates us is our love for Jesus and our desire to share that love with others in deeply practical ways. Kathleen and I wish to thank not only the members of our corps (church) but also the many volunteers from our community, who freely give of their time and energy to help us serve the people of Peterborough.

"Thank you also to Peterborough City Council for the honour awarded to Peterborough Citadel Salvation Army. We accept the award proudly but give the glory to God."

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