Work has now begun on the removal of asbestos from Gilderson and Sons Funeral Parlour, the site chosen for Project Malachi.
As part of the preparation for these demolitions Recycles, our bike recycling social enterprise, organised the donation of 250 bicycles that were being stored in the site. These bikes will be going to 'Bikes to Africa', which looks to provide them to support income opportunities in developing countries. Gilderson and Sons has been a storage site for our Recycles project since 2014.
This site also marks the first meeting of the Salvation Army in Ilford, over 130 years ago. Robert Gilderson, the founder of Gilderson and Sons, was the treasurer to the Salvation Army. With these links going back for over a century, the Salvation Army returning to this site feels very much like a homecoming.
The image is appealing, turning a place of death into a place where lives can begin again. Although different on the surface, there are some things that are similar in both of the uses of this site: Gilderson and Sons provided comfort to people who were suffering through difficult times. They provided a platform from which people could begin to move on, and a chance to reflect on the past.
Project Malachi will give people a chance to reflect, but more importantly a chance to begin again. As Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians:
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.