Two new officers have received a warm welcome and are settling into their roles at the Salvation Army in Scarborough.
Lieutenants Richard and Lorna Weston, who are originally from Worcester, have just completed two years of training at William Brook College in London.
They were delighted to hear their first post would be in Scarborough and started work here in July.
But despite being new in their roles, being part of the Salvation Army is nothing new to this couple.
Lorna was a community support assistant at the Salvation Army in Worcester and Richard, who used to work as an after sales manager for Mercedes Benz, spent much of his free time helping out at the church.
Richard said he had felt a calling to train as an officer since around 1988, but waited until Lorna had a calling from God too, which happened in 2008.
They then began a process of applications, interviews, assessments and eventually started their studies in Camberwell, London.
The training involved studying the Salvation Army doctrines, bible study, pastoral care, life cycles, the history of the organisation and management skills.
The couple both took part in a number of placements in social settings, such as hostels, and prayer walking in the Kings Cross area of London.
Richard also took part in a drop-in project based at McDonalds in Camden High Street, where people who were lonely, homeless or in need could call in and have a chat over a burger and a coffee.
It was a chance to meet people and share their stories, which Richard said was a real highlight of his training and a great experience.
The couple were then matched up with the most suitable church and location, which for them turned out to be Scarborough.
Richard said: “We’d never been before and when we came up it was a wet and windy Wednesday in May!
“But it’s so nice to go for a walk on the seafront and the parks are beautiful.
“At home we used to be two or three minutes from the countryside and we missed that when we were in London.
“Scarborough is such a lovely place and we feel so privileged to be here.”
Lorna added: “It already feels like home. Everybody is really supportive and they’ve made us feel very welcome.”
Richard said they have already met lots of people in Scarborough who are in need of help.
He explained: “There is a lot of needs here and a lot of deprivation, so we’re trying to develop ways we can best help the community.”
Richard said that one of the areas they would like to focus on is getting the food bank more established.
He added: “We’re giving out about 30 food parcels a week and often not to the sort of people you would expect.
“Many tend to be married couples with children who can’t afford to pay their bills, even though they’re working all hours.
“Some people are having to make a choice between eating and keeping warm.”
Donations of food are always most welcome and can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Citadel in Alma Parade.
There are lots of activities going on with plans being put in place for the run-up to Christmas. To find out more, call (01723) 378603.