A chef-turned-singer is thanking The Salvation Army in Liverpool for helping her rebuild her life and clinch a spot in a landmark concert at The Royal Opera House as part of the London 2012 Festival.
Adele Armstrong, 40, is to feature in ‘With One Voice,’ on 2 July, a groundbreaking concert which has been organised to coincide with the Olympic Games to showcase talent amongst people who have been affected by homelessness. The concert will be streamed live on http://with1voice.org.uk and will remain online after the event.
Adele, who was raised in the Hindley area of Wigan, says: “I am really looking forward to this concert. We’ve had a great response in Liverpool and it’s a great opportunity for us to be getting to play at such a great place as the Royal Opera House.”
After wowing crowds in a series of gigs across Liverpool in recent months, Adele is to debut at the famous London venue as part of Kabin Krew, the music/ poetry/ drama group she joined while living at the Ann Fowler House lifehouse in Liverpool while recovering from domestic violence and homelessness.
It was Adele’s weekly visits to The Whitechapel Centre in Langdale Street, Liverpool that put her in touch with Collective Encounters, a community organisation that uses the arts to help homeless people rebuild their lives, and through which she honed her performance skills.
Adele continued: “When I first came to Liverpool, I don’t think I would have had the strength to try anything like this. The Salvation Army is helping me get back on my feet and I’m really thankful to them.
“There was a time in my life when I found myself having to escape domestic violence. I left my partner and stayed with friends, moving from home to home for about 18 months. Eventually I was sleeping rough in parks, bus stops, doorways, anywhere I could find to get some sleep. Everyday I would present myself at the homeless office; many times I was told I looked too clean. It seemed like one day I had everything and the next I had nothing.”
When a vacancy opened up at The Salvation Army, Adele was welcomed to stay at the 38-bed residential centre. More than a hostel or shelter for the night, like all Salvation Army lifehouses, Ann Fowler House works to help residents get people their lives back. As such it offers short-term accommodation for people in need of housing. More than this, it offers activities and training to help improve the self-esteem, mental health and employment prospects of service users.
“I have been involved in a range of the activities they put on plus things like gardening, drama and baking,” said Adele. “I have even gained qualifications and certificates while doing it. I have really kept myself busy at the lifehouse; which helps me overcome the past.”
Adele, who is a qualified carer as well as a chef and former foster parent, added: “I have been offered a lot of help from The Salvation Army. The staff are great. We can get all the help and support we need in a safe environment that accepts everyone, from whatever background.”
With a CD single ‘Seize the Day’ and a role in a short film, ‘In Our Times,’ under her belt, Adele is looking towards a brighter future which includes returning to living a successful independent life: “My life is on its way up and I am ready to be rehoused and move on with my life. The Salvation Army has put me on the right track.”
Adele is not the only link between The Salvation Army and The Olympic Games: the church and charity's Hadleigh Farm in Essex has been chosen as the site for the mountain biking competition in London 2012. A factor in this is because it fulfils the requirements to be a technically challenging course. The terrain is hilly with open grass land covered by low shrubbery. The site offers some fantastic gradients for mountain biking, great viewing opportunities for spectators, and is set against the backdrop of the 700-year-old ruins of Hadleigh Castle.
For further information about The Salvation Army’s work in Liverpool, call 0151 207 3815.
To listen to 'Seize the Day,' visit http://inourtimes.ning.com