Nigel Hill’s visit to the Braintree Salvation Army donation centre


On Friday 3rd September, Nigel Hills, saha Chief Executive, went to meet the staff and Foyer volunteers at the Salvation Army’s newly opened Braintree “Donation Centre” situated on the outskirts of Braintree, Essex. Joining him was Trevor Caffull, Managing Director of the Salvation Army’s Charity shops.

Historically The Salvation Army have run Charity Shops. Usually, these have been on High Streets where people have found it difficult to drop off their donations. To overcome this, The Salvation Army have started opening new stores called “Donation Centre’s”. These are usually situated on the edge of industrial parks with lots of free customer parking.

Liz Gunn, the Donation Centre’s Manager was aware that saha had a Foyer in Braintree and arranged with Mark Watson (Foyer Manager) to come and meet some of the residents. Through that meeting 8 residents said they wanted to become volunteers and so saha’s relationship with the Donation Centre begun.

And it’s been really successful, the volunteers love helping at the Centre, “Liz is so friendly, she’s always cracking jokes. It makes the work fun!!” said Keiran (Foyer resident) on the visit

As you can see from the pictures, the Centre is sizable with over 10,000+ cars passing it each day making it ideal for easy drop off’s and shopping.

The centre employs a van driver nicknamed “Dodge” who drives around the nearby villages collecting and dropping off items to customers “It’s hard to keep up with it all some days” said Dodge “But I love it, we’re helping people when they have nothing”.

Liz says, “The Centre wouldn’t run without the volunteers. We’ve got people here who used to shop and now volunteer and it’s been great getting to know Mark and the residents”. Liz added “The volunteers gain Credits for every hour they work which can be used to purchase items from the shop. But to be honest, if they have an eye on something, I usually give it to them. I just want to help them”. Mark added “It’s been invaluable. The residents love coming here, they are learning new skills, meeting different people; and when they leave the Foyer to move into their own accommodation, Liz and the team help them refurbish their new place – beds, tables, cutlery, glasses, lamps, you name it, Liz usually has it.”

Nigel Hills agrees “This really is a success story. The Centre loves having our Foyer volunteers, the volunteers gain opportunities to train, learn new skills and furnish their accommodation. The money made from the Centre is plowed back into helping the most vulnerable through the work of the Salvation Army across the country. This is Transforming Lives in action”.


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