Emmaus Glouestershire saves over 600 tonnes of goods from landfill
During national Recycle Week (24–30 September 2018) Emmaus Gloucestershire is celebrating saving thousands of pieces of furniture from going to landfill, and asking local people to help by donating their unwanted items.
In 2017, Emmaus Gloucestershire has saved over 600 tonnes of furniture including wardrobes, beds and three-piece suites, from going to the rubbish tip, by offering a free collection service for large household items in good condition. The collected goods are then sold in the Emmaus shops in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud and Nailsworth.
Emmaus Gloucestershire offers an alternative route out of homelessness within a supportive environment for 31 people, known within Emmaus as companions, who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion. Those supported at the community live together and help to run the shops, which raises funds to run the charity.
Will Fletcher, 36, is one of many companions being supported by Emmaus Gloucestershire. Before Emmaus, everything Will did was to fuel his drug addiction. He would spend all the money he earned, and sell any possessions he had, to buy drugs. Eventually Will became homeless, and staying in hostels didn’t provide the support he needed to overcome his addiction: “I’ve been clean before, but this is the first time I’ve felt healthy and good about myself. When I was homeless, I would often stay in hostels but there was no real structure there. I was left to my own devices which meant I would fall back into bad habits, and in my case, drug use.
“Since arriving at Emmaus nearly two years ago, the support I have received has been brilliant. I have a home for as long as I need and a role within our shop. I’m responsible for sorting all of the donations of clothing when it arrives, ensuring that it is ready for sale. The public are always very generous with their donations, so I’m constantly on the go, which I enjoy.”
With the support of Emmaus, Will is now in a position to help others: “I volunteer once a week at the soup kitchen in Gloucester city centre every Wednesday. My fellow companions and I now lead on this activity, loading up the van with food and rucksacks filled with essentials for up to 40 people each week. It reminds me of the times that I was on the other side of the table – I too accepted help in the same way and I remember how it felt to accept the kindness of strangers. I now get to give that same kindness to those I meet every week.”
Will is now calling on local people to help the charity recycle even more unwanted items, in order to help vulnerable people change their lives for the better: “There’s a sense of belonging at Emmaus. It feels as though we’re all in it together – companions, staff and volunteers, all working to ensure the community continues to offer the same opportunities in future for others. If I think about where I’ve come in terms of my former life and where I am today, it’s massive. I feel settled, content and in control of my life now. I would like to ask the public to help give that same chance to others by donating their unwanted items to support our community.”
“Recycling isn’t just about separating out your weekly rubbish collections; many different materials can be saved from landfill and put to good use. We hope that by offering a free collection service more people will be encouraged to think about donating their unwanted items to charity instead of sending them straight to the tip. Every donation to Emmaus helps us to change the lives of people like Steve.”
Joe Feeley, Emmaus Gloucestershire Chief Executive
Emmaus Gloucestershire provides a home for as long as needed and meaningful work for up to 31 Emmaus companions who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion, offering them an alternative route out of homelessness within a supportive environment. Companions gain valuable skills through working in the charity’s five charity shops in Cheltenham, Stroud, Nailsworth, and Gloucester. All funds generated from each shop helps to support the Emmaus Gloucestershire community.
Now in its 15th year, Recycle Week is a celebration of recycling, organised by WRAP under the Recycle Now brand. The aim of the week is to encourage the public to recycle more, by demonstrating the benefits of recycling items from all around the home. This year’s theme is 'Recycling. We do. Because it matters.’
To book a free collection for unwanted furniture, please call 01452 413 095 or visit www.emmaus.org.uk/gloucestershire.