New Salvation Army centre draws mixed reaction
May 22, 2018
A new Salvation Army centre complete with a red-lit silicone steeple dominating central Newtown is getting mixed reactions from residents.
The Salvation Army is to open a new social service centre on Riddiford Street next month, which will consolidate services currently in three buildings, including Bridge and Oasis located opposite the hospital at the Hope Centre, the main centre on Constable Street, and the old Salvation Army Family Store on Rintoul Street.
The new Riddiford Centre features a three-storey, plastic-sheeted steeple which lights up red at night in Salvation Army colours.
Newtown resident Daniel Kopa said the building felt “bloody cold”. Newtown’s starting to look like a welfare town.”
Other residents shared his views and said they were worried elderly people would be harrased by Salvation Army members on the street.
Keegan Pratt liked the building’s central location. “The steeple is a good feature.”
Trish, who would not give her last name, had just donated some clothes. “[It’s] good to have services all together – very convenient.”
New graffiti appeared recently on the old Family Store reading “100 dollar deal – sad but true” in reference to the sale of the old Salvation Army buildings to a property developer.
Family Store manager Melanie Gifford said the change had been exciting. “It’s really nice to start out with a blank canvas.”
The public’s response had been positive and visitors to the new store had commented on its size and open layout, she said.
Gifford would miss some of their regular Colombo and Rintoul Street customers but was glad the different services would operate from one central building.
“In the past we had to go to different buildings, or wait for people to come to us, so it will make things much easier.”
The new centre will officially open on June 9 with an opening service and public tours.