HISTORY

HISTORY OF SALTBOX

Saltbox began in 1983 with a founding vision to provide Christian support and encouragement for local faith groups to help them grow and develop. Initial support focused on providing lists of services provided by individual Christians. In the 1990s and 2000s, Saltbox established itself as the organiser of city-wide and regional Christian and faith events including large celebrations, training courses and united prayer initiatives.

Since 2001, Saltbox has developed a range of caring community initiatives for vulnerable adults across the city. Equally importantly, it has become an exemplar for wider partnership working and has pioneered the use of Faith Action Audits to highlight the community contribution of faith groups. Saltbox has become a model of good practice to encourage the faith sector to work more collaboratively with the wider voluntary, public and private sectors.

TIMELINE OF SALTBOX LANDMARKS

1987

MISSION: Organisation of the North Staffs Christian Praise March, bringing Christians from the area together for united witness and worship. 

2000

MISSION: Closely involved in bringing about the Millennium Celebration afternoon of worship and teaching at Vale Park Stadium and encouraging Christians in the area to pray throughout the year of the Millennium 

2001 - 2008

MISSION: Initiate the 2C7 Prayer Gatherings, a city-wide prayer gathering that led to a seven-year journey of united prayer for the city and the nation 

2004

FAITH ACTION AUDIT: Conducted the first FAA in Stoke-on-Trent to research community activities run by faith groups and their social and financial impact on the city 

2007

RESTART: Began working with ex-offenders through the Restart Project, taken over from a pilot initiated by the Church of England’s Lichfield Diocese

CARELINK: Trials began on a telephone monitoring and befriending service for older people

MONEY MATTERS: Self-funded a small and targeted pilot service aimed at providing advice to parishioners experiencing problems with debt 

2008

MISSION: Gathered faith and city leaders together for a visit from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to pray for the welfare of the city 

2010

MISSION: Organisation on the visit of Archbishop John Sentamu celebrating 100 years of the federation of Stoke-on-Trent

CIVIC PRAYER BREAKFAST: Inaugural event at Kings Hall 

2014

FAITH ACTION AUDIT: Worked alongside the Cinnamon Network to roll out Faith Action Audits nationally

MONEY MATTERS: Trussell Trust approached us to ask if we would be willing to place an adviser in each of the Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank centres to help clients with debt and benefits access 

2015

CARELINK: Taken on board and given funding by North Staffs Clinical Commission Group for the NHS 

2016

CIVIC PRAYER BREAKFAST: Saltbox’s model for Civic Prayer Breakfasts was used in over 50 towns and cities as a guide of good practice

MONEY MATTERS: Received funding from Stoke-on-Trent Council Social Fund

OPEN: Launch of our city-wide consultancy service bringing key public service decision makers together with members of the community aged 50+ for input to shape provision and feedback 

2017

CONNECTING CHOICES: Restart partnered with Ixion to bring about tailored life skills and employability training to people with an offending background looking to enter the job market and achieve independent living

MONEY MATTERS: Awarded three years’ sponsorship by Npower to continue providing local debt advice services until 2020

STOKE NORTH BIG LOCAL: Saltbox was awarded the contract to consult with the communities in Chell, Chell Heath and Fegg Hays on how best to spend a £1million Big Local investment into the area 

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

In 1983, when a group of Christians were beginning this new venture, one of them found the story of the original ‘Salt Box’ and felt led to bring back a name that belongs to the spiritual history of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.

The Salt Box had been used in 1799 as a colloquial name to describe Zoar Chapel in Burslem. It was most probably situated on the area of land occupied by the Royal Doulton Pottery Factory complex for many years until its closure in 2005.

In 1798, the chapel that Job Ridgway – the famous potter and Christian philanthropist – attended in Hot Lane Burslem became too small for the growing congregation. He, therefore, acquired land adjacent to the ground known as Kiln Croft and built a new chapel there, calling it Zoar Chapel. It was situated in Prince’s Row, Nile Street and known by the working people as the ‘Salt Box’ possibly because of the scriptural allusion to the “Salt of the earth”.

The people and activities associated with the Salt Box in those days were variously described:

 

“They seek the glory of God in the regeneration and salvation of their fellow men.”

“They were men of holy fervour and burning passion in the service of their God.”

“They were blessed with a plenitude of Divine influence.”

“The delightful seasons spent within its walls, the times of spiritual refreshing, the manifestations of the Divine Presence and power in the awakening and conversion of souls, the noble characters that were moulded and developed under its influence, and the Christly work done there by zealous and loving hearts are remembered and spoken of.”

“It continued to be a house of prayer and holy ministries and splendid work was done for God within its wall.”

“There have occurred many remarkable seasons of spiritual power and exaltations, remembered today with affectionate interest.”

 

In the 21st century, The Saltbox Christian Centre – now known simply as Saltbox – is happy to be associated with the past of a name that has been such an inspiration to so many of faith in Stoke-on-Trent.

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