In English

It All Started in the Docks …

The history of the Rescue Mission starts on the Gothenburg quayside around the turn of the 20th century. There, the Emigration Mission tried to alleviate the desperate needs of the people who had gathered to board the ships bound for America. As their numbers petered out the help was redirected to the homeless and down-and-out in the dockland areas.

In 1953, the foundation Help to the Homeless, The Rescue Mission of Gothenburg, was founded by Thorsten Wingö, a pastor and former professional boxer. In their building at Husargatan in Haga hot meals were served and a pair of good secondhand shoes could be had. Overnight accommodation was available in the Fyrbåk Express sleepers. Caring people were always on hand to listen.

Gradually the activities were developed to support and treat drug addicts and people with functional disabilities. The face of vulnerability is subject to change, so we may be doing other things tomorrow. But our historical roots are still there – and people who care.

Our Mission Today

Everyone has the right to a dignified life, and we work to discourage situations which lead to aggravate the vulnerability of people, like alcohol and other substance abuse, segregation, isolation, humiliation and oppression, unemployment, economic and social poverty.

We believe that:

  • Man is created with an ability to care for others and to be creative
  • Everyone is unique, so we treat everyone individually
  • There are no hopeless cases
  • We are all imperfect, and there is always room for forgiveness
  • Humor is a positive force

We want to:

  • Meet at eye level
  • Be good listeners
  • See the people that few others want to see
  • Stand up for the individual, regardless of any reaction from society or the local community
  • Give everyone the opportunity to clarify their philosophy of life
  • Provide an everyday space where people have a voice and a part

Our Social Support

The Rescue Mission is working within a number of areas, e.g.:


  • Overnight accommodation for homeless men and women (35:an)
  • Assisted accommodation for women (Lisagården)
  • Group accommodation – psychological disabilities (Bellmansgatan, Styrmansgatan)
  • Drug-free accommodation/treatment home (Fjärde våningen, ‘Fourth Floor’)


  • Treating addiction (‘Fourth Floor’, Lisagården)
  • Conversation as therapy (at Agora)
  • Pastoral care
  • Environmental therapy (Lisagården, Bellmansgatan, Styrmansgatan)

Integration activity

  • Meeting places, like Agora (refugee work, new arrivals in Sweden)
  • The Sun Flower – working with children who has a family member in prison
  • Family member oppression (young women)
  • We are also working with courses and seminars, music and cultures as well as Second Hand Shop (clothes handling and sorting).

Your Time Can Change Somebody’s Life

Offering yourself as a fellow human being is one of the best things you can do. The presence and time of our volunteers are vital to our work. Within the Rescue Mission employed staff work side by side with volunteers, and through their invaluable voluntary contribution they reinforce our work method with its focus on the individual. They offer their commitment, their experience and skills.

The tasks are many and urgent, e.g.

  • Socializing with guests at our café
  • Chaperoning children
  • Visiting inmates in custody
  • Going on excursions with our hostel tenants
  • Helping our maintenance staff
  • Helping out with administrative tasks
  • Helping our in our Second Hand Shop

You don’t need to be an expert in order to be a volunteer – just share your knowledge and experience.

If you find this interesting, we would be happy to tell you more about our voluntary work scheme. We can offer relevant training as a secure a basis for voluntary contribution.

For more information, please go to our website or contact the Voluntary Coordination Group on tel: 031-712 12 20. Email us on