Online Advent Calendar launch
As the nation prepares for the festive season, homelessness charity Emmaus UK has launched a series of films highlighting the importance of having a home at Christmas and calling for people to help make this year someone’s last Christmas on the streets.
The films feature 22 formerly homeless people along with Terry Waite CBE and ex rugby star Sam Portland, all telling their stories of past Christmases and sharing their plans for this year. A new film will be released on Emmaus UK’s website and social media channels every day from 1-24 December using the hashtag #lastchristmas.
One contributor, Jenni, is currently being supported by Emmaus after finding herself homeless following the breakdown of an abusive relationship. Jenni’s story shows just how easy it can be to find yourself homeless, and why it’s so important to have a home at this time of year.
Jenni said: “Last Christmas I was still living with my ex. It was quite difficult and I didn’t really celebrate Christmas. Eventually, he threw me out, knowing I had nowhere to go. I slept rough for a night before I could get into a hostel. It was a really threatening environment, but I was terrified of leaving because my only option would have been to sleep on the streets again.
Now I’m at Emmaus I’m living with 16 other people. It is a lot different to my previous Christmases, many of which I spent on my own. It’s brilliant here – not lonely at all. Emmaus has given me the ability to be myself, to live instead of existing. I’m looking forward to Christmas this year. I’m looking forward to waking up on Christmas Day.”
Emmaus supports formerly homeless people by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem to help rebuild their lives.
There are currently 28 Emmaus communities across the country, supporting more than 750 companions (formerly homeless people) in the UK.
Terry Waite CBE, President of Emmaus UK said: “It is easy to ignore the fact that there are thousands of homeless people who will be without a home this Christmas. There is little doubt that things are not getting easier; the gap between the rich and poor is increasing and we need to work together in order to support those who are most vulnerable. Having a place to call home and people who care for you is so important, especially at Christmas. Emmaus provides this support, offering a place to live for those who often have no-one else to turn to.”
To watch the videos in full and find out how you can support Emmaus in making this Christmas someone’s last Christmas on the streets go to www.emmaus.org.uk/lastchristmas.