Monday 3 February 2014

Bringing the inside outside marks sixty year anniversary

aaEmmaus International Abbe Pierre on radio 140121web

Photograph copyright Emmaus International

Towns across the UK saw living rooms and bedrooms spring up in their public spaces on Saturday 1 February 2014.

The events were arranged by Emmaus, to mark the 60th anniversary of the “uprising of kindness”, an event that proved the impact one person can have on the lives of others.

On 1 February 1954, Emmaus’s founder Abbe Pierre took to the airwaves, broadcasting an appeal on Radio Luxembourg that asked the people of France to do something to help people living on the streets of Paris. He felt compelled to do this after finding out that a woman had frozen to death the previous night, clutching an eviction notice in her hand.

His powerful request on behalf of ‘the voiceless people’ prompted an outpouring of support from the French public, bringing in more than 500 million francs, as well as blankets, stoves, and other items, that were collected all over the country.

That request was the start of Emmaus, an international movement which now spans 37 countries, supporting people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.

At the town centre events on 1 February, members of the public were asked to pledge their own personal act of kindness to celebrate the anniversary of the news broadcast.

Emmaus Chief Executive, Arvinda Gohil, said: “The actions of one man in 1954 led to the creation of a worldwide movement. We hoped that people would be inspired and take action on 1 February with their own acts of kindness.

"Even though the anniversary has passed it is important to remember that even the smallest acts can have a huge impact on the lives of others. Those looking for inspiration could consider getting involved with their local Emmaus community, by volunteering or even just donating household items they no longer need. Whatever it is you pledge to do, I hope you feel inspired by our uprising of kindness.”

Emmaus communities in Bedfordshire, Bradford, Bridgend – South WalesBrighton & Hove, Burnley, Cambridge, Colchester, Coventry, Gloucestershire, Glasgow, Hampshire, Hull, Leeds, Medway, Mossley, Norwich and St Albans held events to mark the anniversary, with hundreds of supporters making pledges including pocket money donations, hampers of food, and visits to communities by MPs.

The Emmaus #uprisingofkindness can still be supported by liking and sharing the EmmausUK facebook page or by tweeting ideas and pledges to @EmmausUK.