During the third week of the Lent Call, we are concentrating on three projects helping people within the Diocese of Southwark itself. These are the Salmon Youth Centre, the Sutton Women’s Centre and Christian CARE Merton.
The first of our local projects is the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey, which is in the Woolwich Episcopal Area.
The Salmon Youth Centre now has an impressive building, opened in 2010, which can be easily seen from the train as you go in or out of London Bridge. The building brought together all the services offered by the Centre, spread among three separate premises, under one roof. However, the Centre has been working in the area for much, much longer… 113 years to be exact!
The Salmon Centre is named after a local vicar, the Revd ‘Pa’ Salmon, who first noticed that local churches were not engaging with the problems of the inner-city working-class poor in the area. He resolved to do something about it and in 1906, with a group of evangelical Christians from Cambridge University, founded the Cambridge Medical Mission Settlement. The next year, they bought a building on Jamaica Road and opened it as a boys’ mission club and residential settlement. Tuberculosis was a prominent health issue amongst the local population, so the settlement set up a dispensary, as well as taking boys on trips and summer camps to the countryside.
Over the next 112 years, the organisation expanded in the area. It started to admit girls and changed its name to the Cambridge University Mission and then to the Salmon Youth Centre.
Today, the Salmon Youth Centre offers a wide variety of youth work to help achieve their vision of ‘empowering all young people to discover meaning and direction for their lives, develop positive relationships with others and to contribute positively to the communities in which they live, making the transforming love of Jesus relevant to the lives of young people’.
In the following film we meet Miranda Haslem, the Salmon Youth Centre’s Youth Work Manager, who tells us about the work of the Centre today and looks back over its history, and Alex, who has been coming to the Centre since he was 6 years old and is now a Youth Work Traine