Last night was the final in the series of Paul O’Grady: The Sally Army and Me. During the six episodes, we’ve been on a journey with the much-loved celebrity as he spent time with The Salvation Army, learning about who they are, what they do, and importantly, how they help others.
Thanks to the BBC, The Salvation Army has had six weeks in the limelight. And being the kind of organisation that rolls up its sleeves and just gets stuck in, we welcome that limelight, because we know all about the amazing impact The Salvation Army has on people’s lives and we believe it’s worth sharing with the nation. With Paul O’Grady’s help, the UK has been shown the huge breadth of problems today’s society faces and how The Salvation Army is tackling them one-by-one.
If there has been one lesson I’ve been reminded of by the programme – that Paul and Captain Jo Moir demonstrated – it’s the lesson of empathy. The first episode showed Paul washing feet, giving him the ability to really join someone on their level and build trust. That kind of interaction with another person gives you an understanding of how to walk in their shoes, to really understand what they’re going through and contemplate how you would deal with it, if you were ever in their situation.
After the first episode, Paul met people who were struggling or had struggled with homelessness and addiction; he learned what it was like to live with dementia or a terminal illness; he encountered families who couldn’t afford monthly food bills; he saw refugees facing a future of uncertainty. All the while, he was asking, ‘how would I cope if this happened to me?’ This is one of the first steps in making a difference to someone’s life – true empathy and understanding.
Working within The Salvation Army family, we’re privileged to see the compassion it shows through its work every day. I was really touched at the way Paul embraced this and rose to every challenge. He’s been an inspirational ambassador for the charity, and I hope he’s inspired the four million viewers who watched the show every week to find out more about The Salvation Army… perhaps come and volunteer with us, and experience what it’s like to be part of the Sally Army family!
What did you think of the show? Tweet us @sallyarmytrade