The idea to set up an Emmaus Oxford began in the mid 1990s when Jean Williams, an Oxford resident who had been volunteering with other homeless organisations in Oxford, came across the Emmaus concept and thought that the model would be perfect for Oxford - providing an important missing piece of the jigsaw in terms of provision for homeless people.
She wrote a letter to the Oxford Times making this suggestion and the interest generated from this led to a local campaigning group being formed, which eventually culminated in the success of the project, with Jean as a founding trustee.
Milestones along the way
1998 the group becomes a registered charity.
2005 The gift of some land by St Michael's and All Saints Charity (Feoffees) and a successful application for planning permission to build a residential unit for 24 ex-homeless people (Companions).
2007 Partnership with A2Dominion to build the accommodation for us.
2008 We purchase the furniture recycling store from OCVA (another charity in Oxford) and begin running this. Contract signed with A2Dominion and building of community building commences.
March 2009 Community building complete. Our doors open for the first time to homeless people.
2010 Conversations begin with Oxford City Council around the possibly build of a brand new furniture superstore on Barns Road, (opposite Templar's Square shopping precinct).
2011 We open another (small) shop in Templars Square shopping precinct.
2013 the house next door to the Community is converted to house a further 4 Companions bringing our capacity up to 28. Planning permission granted for the new Superstore
2013-2016 Many years of hard work, fundraising and planning for our new store.
2016 [May] we made the move from Marston to our new purpose built store at 242 Barns road. Shortly after the move we made the decision to close our Templars Square shop
Emmaus Oxford and the way it has developed would not have happened without the extraordinarily generous financial support from individuals and a wide range of grant giving bodies too numerous to list here. Thank you to all of you!