A little about our history…

Morning Star (Salisbury) was established as a charity in July 2002 to reach some of the neediest people in the City of Salisbury by a couple named Dave and Bev Kidley. Between them they had over 45 years of experience, working with people who are hurting and broken hearted, due to addictive lifestyles, broken relationships, unemployment, homelessness and mental health issues. 

In September 2003 a project known as The Banquet Run was established to help people who were struggling with issues such as lack of money, homelessness, loneliness, ill-health and addiction. The aim was to provide free, good quality fresh food, both hot and cold by taking food onto the streets of Salisbury. In this way, we met people on their own territory rather than expecting them to come to us.  As well as the provision of food we wanted to offer the hand of friendship and to offer comfort and hope. Whilst many people have little hope for the future, believing that their lives could never change, our aim has always been to bring hope through change, encouragement, and practical support.  Over the years we have given out thousands of meals to people who have been kept alive by the food provided by The Banquet Run. 

Then in 2006 Morning Star set up a small drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for men with addiction issues. To this end, we acquired a six bedded home in the countryside, set in just over an acre of land. We called it The New Life Centre and admitted five or six men at any one time.  The purpose of The New Life Centre was to provide peace and space for the men to address their addiction issues.  A rehabilitation program was developed for the men to work through as well as learning about organic gardening, bee keeping and small animal husbandry, carpentry and wood turning.   The residents lived as family with Bev and Dave in their home.  Many of the men had never experienced a proper family life before, so celebrating Christmas and birthdays are often unfamiliar to them. However, this was all part of demonstrating the possibility of a different way of living without the aid of drugs and alcohol.  

For the next 12 years Morning Star worked with many men and witnessed them breaking free from their dependency on substances. Some remained at the centre for up to two years before moving on into their own accommodation and employment.   The New Life Centre, often against the odds, saw positive transformation in the lives of the men who lived there. For many of them, other agencies had given up, thinking they would never change, but we did not give up.  Many of the men came to us having only a few months to live. They had abused their bodies with drugs and alcohol for so long, often to help them forget some of the painful things that had happened to them in the past, though broken relationships and abuse as young people. 

Then in 2018 we decided to wind down the residential centre.  This was because support to drug and alcohol recovery services reduced across the country, due to funding issues. Consequently, people were only permitted between six to fourteen weeks of support. In our experience, this was insufficient time for people to recover properly and would likely result in relapse. So rather than just helping five or six men at the residential centre, we decided to go out in the community and use our experience and successes for the good of more people.  The new project was called The Hope Project; recognising there is always hope for a new and different future.   

The Hope Project work breakdown was as follows: 

  1. Support to those who have just left a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. 
  1. Support to those who are vulnerable, isolated, and struggling in the community. 
  1. Spending quality time with those who attend the Banquet Run outside of Banquet Run sessions, building relationship, and supporting those with addictions. 

Further changes occurred at the end of 2020 when Dave and Bev Kidley retired and a new couple—Mike and Kerry Badger, took over leadership of the charity. They brought with them a similar concern for the poor, marginalised and destitute. They also brought the necessary skills, experience and a new network of contacts and relationship with other agencies that could collaboratively support those that are vulnerable, isolated, and struggling with mental or physical ill health. With new leadership came a new board of trustees, all with expertise and experience in working with vulnerable adults in a social care or educational setting. As a result, whilst Morning Star continues today with The Hope Project, it has also introduced the Life Recovery Course and Community in collaboration with St Paul’s Church in Salisbury, using their Hope Centre and Coffee Shop. This is both a venue for the course and a base for other activities such as free food provision and client meetings. In addition, Morning Star also works collaboratively with Wiltshire Council to provide those rough sleepers newly housed who have no possessions whatsoever, with basic furnishings, clothing and kitchenware. By establishing a relationship with us through this provision, some of these people also embarked on our Life Recovery Course. 

Whilst Morning Star (Salisbury) is not affiliated to any one church or other organisation, the Christian faith has an influence on the work of the charity. This does not mean that help provided is conditional upon professing a Christian faith, but rather that we believe in demonstrating the love of Christ to the oppressed, afflicted, and marginalised in words and deeds. Therefore, we collaborate with both churches and other secular organisations in the City. This helps to both resource the work that we do and maximise our client support base.  We are a small charity having two part time, modestly paid members of staff, plus some generous volunteers who give their time freely to support the work.  We raise money through regular donations, fund raising events and other lump sum donations. 

Finally, we consider it an honour to be able to serve our city and help those who are struggling. We also encourage others to see those who are homeless and struggling with addictions and other life issues, as people like you and I but who have lost their way due to their life’s circumstances. We believe these people have the ability to turn their lives around when given the right opportunity. 

Mike Badger, CEO