Volunteers' Week - Volunteers celebrate 25th anniversary with Emmaus
Two women, who were part of the group that brought Emmaus to Gloucestershire, are set to celebrate 25 years of volunteering for the charity. Rosemary Davis and Beth Boxall, who are both now in their 70s, were part a team of volunteers who set up an Emmaus charity shop in Nailsworth in 1993. Throughout the 1990s, the team sold donated clothes and bric-a-brac, eventually raising enough to set up a community house, followed by a furniture superstore in Gloucester. 25 years later, Rosemary and Beth still volunteer with the charity and undertake several roles in the shop, from sorting clothes and assisting customers, to window dressing and managing other volunteers.
Emmaus Gloucestershire is one of 29 Emmaus communities across the UK, and provides work and training for 32 companions, who each have their own room and shared facilities. The five shops are situated in Cheltenham, Stroud, Nailsworth and Gloucester and contribute to the financial stability of the community. Emmaus Gloucestershire also works alongside partners across the county to alleviate the causes of homelessness.
Beth said: My key reason for volunteering and establishing the Emmaus Gloucestershire community was to give something back, while also trying to combat the growing issue of homelessness. The time has passed so quickly, however the problem continues to blight the lives of so many people. As a longstanding volunteer I have learned so much from everyone I have encountered, it continues to be a positive experience for me and my counterparts.”
Joe Feeley, Chief Executive of Emmaus Gloucestershire, commented: “Our volunteers are compassionate individuals who want to help in their local community. They love working in a team and with the public. We’ve found that the experience benefits volunteers as well as companions as they learn from each other while developing their skills and the business.”