Salvation Army helps Eastbourne man turn his life around

Tim with his loyal dog Cindy
Tim with his loyal dog Cindy

AS THE Salvation Army in Eastbourne prepares for its annual Auction of Promises event, one man has told the Herald how it has been a lifeline for him in recent years.

Tim Ripley was homeless for four years and started visiting the Citadel in Langney Road for hot meals, shower facilities and advice and support.

Now Tim, a recovering alcoholic, is one of the centre’s success stories and has managed to turn his life around.

He assists new clients who visit the citadel and helps out at the day centre for homeless and vulnerable people in the Rebourne Centre opposite.

He firmly believes if it wasn’t for the facilities the church offers – hot food, sandwiches, showers and careers advice to name but a few – he would still be on the streets drinking.

Born and bred in Eastbourne, 48-year-old Tim’s troubles began as a teenager when he was physically abused.

He began self-harming, started drinking and getting into trouble with the police.

His relationship broke down because of his drinking and he found himself at rock bottom sleeping in shop doorways and seafront shelters in Eastbourne.

Now he has accommodation in the town centre, is off the drink and as well as helping out at the citadel and Rebourne Centre, regularly walks dogs for friends and helps in the Salvation Army shop.

“Coming here gave me a fresh new outlook,” said Tim. “They have never forced religion on me, just been there for me.

“Pauline [the citadel’s community development worker] has been a real friend, my guardian angel and the support I have received has been great.

“Now I just want to help people who are in the situation I was in.”

Tim has given talks on his experiences to nursing staff and the Samaritans and is hoping other groups and organisations might be interested in inviting him to talk at events.

Further information, as well as tickets for the Auction of Promises, is available by calling the Rebourne Centre on 417149.

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A BLACK tie evening of entertainment and fun has been organised by Eastbourne’s Salvation Army to raise money for the services it provides to the town’s homeless and vulnerable people.

The Auction of Promises is on Saturday October 15 between 7-10pm at the Town Hall in Grove Road.

Tickets are £10 and there will be a buffet, entertainment and countless items in the auction.

Money made on the night will go towards the Salvation Army’s work it does with homeless men and women in Eastbourne as well as families living in temporary accommodation and vulnerable members of the community.

The Salvation Army volunteers provide hot meals for homeless people two nights a week and sandwiches and hot drinks three days a week.

There is also the Rebourne Centre in Langney Road which is a day drop in centre for homeless and vulnerable people.