Skip to content
CharitiesAidWelfare

Celebrating 140 years of social service

The Salvation Army 3 mins read
Ex prisoners working in Abbotsford in 1900

Salvos are part of the fabric of Australia’s welfare system

The Salvation Army is celebrating 140 years of social services in Australia. To mark this significant milestone, experts in the field will gather to reflect, share and celebrate the rich history of helping Australians in need.

It all began in 1883, when the Prison Gate Brigade was established to provide an outreach service for men released from Melbourne Gaol. Major James Barker established the program, which was the first Salvation Army social program anywhere in the world.

Major Barker could see prisoners being released without anywhere to stay or work, inevitably re-offending and returning to jail. To stop this cycle, he leased a small house in Carlton, to provide accommodation for discharged prisoners. Members of The Salvation Army provided further support to find them a permanent home and a job.

Since then, The Salvation Army’s social services have rapidly grown, providing life-changing and life-saving support to those experiencing social injustice and disadvantage. The Salvation Army’s mission services now include the following programs:

• Alcohol and other drugs
• Family and domestic violence
• Homelessness
• Youth services
• Emergency relief
• Financial counselling (Moneycare)
• Aged care.

“The Salvation Army has been part of the fabric of Australia’s welfare system and we are here for the long term. Our 140-year anniversary of social services provides us with an opportunity to reflect on past achievements, celebrate our successes and plan for the future,” Major Jenny Begent, Assistant Secretary for Mission, said.

“Our social services started with a 500-pound grant from the government. That’s about $955. Today, we invest more than half a billion dollars into our services annually. Our ability to provide vital support right across Australia is possible thanks to the support of government and generosity of our donors, volunteers and corporate partners. The confidence these dedicated supporters have to invest in us is testament to the trust the Australian community has in The Salvation Army to always be there and make a difference when it’s needed most.”

In the last financial year alone, The Salvation Army provided more than:
• 1.86 million sessions of care across all social programs
• 1 million nights of accommodation for those in need
• 1.5 million meals for those experiencing homelessness
• 86,420 sessions of care for young people.

During the same period, more than 11,370 people received assistance with addiction through alcohol and other drugs and gambling rehabilitation services and almost 12,700 people received free financial counselling.

“This is just a snapshot of the last 12 months. It’s amazing to think how many people we’ve helped, how many meals we’ve served, how many beds we’ve provided to the most vulnerable in our community over the last 140 years. During our history, we have had the support of more than five million volunteers who have given their time so generously to help those in need through our programs. This anniversary is a proud moment to reflect on all we have achieved, together, for our most vulnerable.”

Major Begent said that while there are significant achievements, there is still much work to do.

“As Australia faces widespread cost of living pressures, more people from all walks of life are needing our help. We are working together with experts in the social mission space to ensure we can deliver support in the best way possible now and into the future.”

In August 2023, Alcohol and Other Drug treatment services recorded a 12% increase in the number of people assisted compared to the same time the year before. There was a 21% increase in sessions of care within youth services, compared to the same time last year. From January through August 2023, The Salvation Army’s family and domestic violence services assisted nearly 8000 women and children at risk of or experiencing family violence*.

“Evidence tells us that when people have a place in the world, they are better equipped to face the inevitable challenges of life. The Salvation Army is committed to a future where we continue to walk alongside individuals to empower them to take control of their future.”

To mark this significant occasion, The Salvation Army is gathering social service delegates at a conference in Melbourne from November 8-12.

“Practitioners from around the country will share their knowledge to ensure our collective services have the most positive impact. This event will provide us with an opportunity to reflect, celebrate and give thanks for our rich history of helping those in need.”

The conference includes workshops, research and discussion papers from community sector representatives, providing peers with an opportunity to connect with other experts in the field and make a meaningful contribution to the advancement of community engagement and social work in Australia.

Further information about the conference can be found here.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY:
Photos with Major Jenny Begent and other Salvation Army Social Mission representatives can be arranged outside Old Melbourne Gaol in Russel Street, Melbourne and The Salvation Army Museum in Bourke Street, Melbourne. Interviews and media tours can also be arranged upon request.

For more information, contact The Salvation Army’s Media Relations Department on 02 9466 3143.

*The Salvation Army, National stream data: summary report, August 2023.

Media

More from this category

  • CharitiesAidWelfare, Government VIC
  • 17/04/2024
  • 06:51
Council to Homeless Persons

Urgent call for youth homelessness funding after 18 years of neglect

Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) has urged the Victorian Government to tackle the youth homelessness crisis with a comprehensive strategy in the upcoming state budget. As homelessness among young Victorians reaches critical levels, immediate action is needed to provide both housing and support services. CHP CEO Deborah Di Natale said: "The last youth homelessness strategy released 18 years ago is now old enough to vote. "That should be a major wake-up call for the Allan government, which has a huge opportunity to end almost two decades of neglect. "Nearly 16,000 young Victorians found themselves seeking help from homelessness services last…

  • CharitiesAidWelfare, Government VIC
  • 17/04/2024
  • 06:46
Council to Homeless Persons

*** MEDIA ALERT *** Victoria marks 18th ‘birthday’ of last youth homelessness strategy

*** MEDIA ALERT *** What: An 18th ‘birthday’ celebration for the last released youth homelessness strategy with 25-cm cake being cut and singing of happy birthday, with speeches from key youth homelessness figures Who: Council to Homeless Persons CEO Deborah Di Natale, Imogen Johnstone, who has lived experience of youth homelessness, and Youth Housing and Homelessness Alliance chair and YACVic CEO Mary Nega When: Wednesday April 17, 12.30pm Where: Melbourne City Mission (Level 1/164-180 Kings Way, South Melbourne, Victoria, 3205Contact details: Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480 / matt@hortonadvisory.com.au

  • CharitiesAidWelfare, Youth
  • 17/04/2024
  • 00:05
Youth Homelessness Matters Day - YFoundations

8 in 10 people believe no child or young person should be homeless in Australia

A new national poll by Essential Media finds that across Australia and all age groups, 80 percent of people agree that child and youth homelessness is unacceptable and that all levels of government must do more to tackle the issue. Today on Youth Homelessness Matters Day community organisations are joining with young people to urge Federal and State governments to commit to ending child and youth homelessness – to develop a national stand-alone Child & Youth Homelessness Strategy with adequate funding. “Too many children and young people in Australia live in unsafe home environments, couch-surf or sleep rough. Frontline services…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.