The Salvation Army for a new generation

Essential Information

This is your guide to Essential.
If you want to find out how to apply, what it costs, or what the purpose of the year is, then read on.
The Essential Programme is the collective title for several training initiatives that are run by ALOVE UK, The Salvation Army for a new generation.  The specific components of the Essential Programme are our flagship 'Essential Gap Year', as well as 'Essential Gap Year Participant', 'Essential Two' and 'Essential MORE'.
 All of the above programmes are coordinated and run from our head office in Elephant and Castle, London - we deliver the programme alongside our partner 'Placements'; various Salvation Army corps (churches) throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland Territory of The Salvation Army. 


A Gap Year with ALOVE runs from the start of September through to the middle of July the following year.  Individuals who apply and are successfully accepted onto the course are placed in teams of 2 or 3 at one of our carefully selected placements.
The purpose of the year is to grow young leaders who are disciples of Christ. We aim to craft opportunity and environments where our students are not inhibited from encountering God and being changed as a result. 

Training Experiences

Essential Gap Year students will benefit from a wide range of experiences. They will take part in 6 weeks of focused training, reflection and team building. We choose a wide variety of conducive locations for these weeks - from coal mines in the Yorkshire moors to the Normandy landing beaches.  We choose locations based on the additional context and added value they provide to the training experience.  These weeks are scheduled across the year. See the year over page for more. 

Journalling and reflection

Throughout the year students are encouraged to blog (online journalling) as we as keel private journals of their year experience and their spiritual life. Students will be set small pieces of informal reflective work to submit alongside a formal accredited element of the course. Journalling and recording experiences is an important part of Essential. 


Placements are selected carefully by Essential, working closely alongside each divisional (regional) headquarters and the local corps (church) itself. Students will spend most of their time at placements -  working alongside the leaders there, getting involved in missional work, assisting new initiatives and worshipping alongside the community. Students are allocated a personal discipler from within the church. There is a synergy between the Essential Gap Year and the placements which enables us to allow placements to shape a unique experience for the students allocated to them. 


The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom generously supports the development of our young leaders. As such Essential is a fee free Gap Year, in that applicants are not expected to pay anything towards training fees (worth approximately £2,000 over the year). Our placements very generously pay for accommodation costs - rent plus any standard bills (council tax, water, heating, electricity). 
We would ask that applicants are able to support themselves in terms of raising a living allowance. This can be between £160 to £200 per month; ie between £1,760 to £2,200 for the year. 


Essential Gap Year Participants can apply as individuals in partnership with their home corps (church) or some other placement of their choosing. We will work alongside the applicant to ensure the suggested placement is appropriate for them.  Often an Essential Gap Year Participant does not benefit from working alongside their fellow Gap Year students in team. Aside from this the Gap Year experience for a participant is much the same as for other Gap Year students. 

Application Process

The application process is simple. Once an application form is submitted we will inform the applicants local leadership and divisional (regional) leadership. We will gather references and invite the applicant to an information and interview day at our London office. 
We will get back to them in 3 working days to inform them if they have been successful. 
Essential Gap Year Application forms are available for download by clicking the link below.
Following this we send written confirmation as well as further information about the Gap Year.