Friday 24 June 2016

Emmaus celebrates 25 years of working to end homelessness

Village Carlton Front

Emmaus Village Carlton will be holding a special celebratory event on Saturday 25 June to mark 25 years of supporting homeless people in the UK.

Emmaus Village Carlton is one of 28 communities in the UK, providing a home and meaningful work for people who have experienced homelessness. The 32 companions supported there, all of whom have experienced homelessness themselves, are among more than 700 people receiving support across the UK.

To mark this anniversary year, Emmaus Village Carlton is inviting customers and supporters to join them for free tea and coffee at our Solidarity Sale. The event will be held at School Lane, Carlton from 9.30am to 4.30pm. All proceeds from the day will go to support Emmaus communities in other parts of the world.

The first Emmaus community opened in Cambridge in 1991. It took a different approach to dealing with homelessness than many other charities, offering the combination of a stable home and meaningful work. This stability, combined with a sense of purpose, gives Emmaus companions, as residents are known, the opportunity to recover their self-respect, which is often decimated when someone is homeless, and deal with their problems in a safe and supportive environment.

Companion, Jaswant Singh explains how Emmaus helped him: “I joined Village Carlton from another community and the companions and staff here have really helped me settle in. I finally feel I have a sense of purpose and direction in my life again. I can’t thank Emmaus enough”.

Emmaus Village Carlton currently supports 32 companions and operates a furniture shop, bric a brac shop, a boutique and a bistro. The money generated from the social enterprises supports the community, as well as providing meaningful work for companions. Emmaus aims to be able to provide 1,000 companion places across the UK by 2020.

Ian O’Hara, Community Director said:  “All the companions feel part of what we are trying to achieve here. They know that all their efforts are rewarded because all the profits go back in to the community to help them make a better life for themselves”

Emmaus UK’s President, Terry Waite CBE added: “The way in which the UK movement has grown and been supported over the past 25 years is incredibly humbling. As homelessness continues to rise, each local community has helped to tackle this problem, providing those in need with not just a bed for the night but opportunities to work, contribute to society and change their lives on their own terms. I’m proud of all we have achieved upon this landmark anniversary and encourage you all to attend our celebration events across the country on the 25 June”.