Emmaus in Norfolk & Waveney
Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney first formed in 2009. The initial development phase took a couple of years of dedicated volunteer fundraising and planning.
The Sisters of All Hallows kindly offered the community a long-term base and premises set in several acres in the tranquil convent grounds and Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney at Ditchingham first opened its doors to companions in 2011.
The buildings have great character and are deeply embedded in local heritage. The first job for companions was to decorate and refurbish the smaller former junior school and artist colony to provide initial living accommodation and retail space for the community.
One of the founding companions, Laurence O'Sullivan, 50, said he had been living rough in London before hearing of the community. He said: "There was no structure in my life but doing this I feel really good again."
On 3rd March 2012, an event was held at Norwich Cathedral, where Terry Waite and local writer Louis de Bernieres spoke to an audience of potential supporters to raise the profile of the organisation in Norfolk and encourage involvement. Soon after the community's shop opened for business.
Five years on, the community currently provides a home for up to 23 companions. We have refurbished Holy Cross House and are now planning upgrades to Abbe Pierre House, which currently houses our second hand retail outlet. The Old Orchard Cafe serves light refreshments and there's a play area in the orchard for children. Something for everyone of any age!