Charity in Focus: Emmaus Hull and East Riding

Published: Wednesday 27th December 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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This week’s charity in focus is Emmaus, a homeless charity with branches across the UK.

Emmaus provides homes for individuals for as long as they need, alongside meaningful work at one of their many social enterprises.

“We believe that living in a stable environment, with the opportunity to work, helps our Companions regain lost self-esteem and gives them the confidence to get back on their feet,” explains Kelly Thompson, Director of Emmaus Hull and East Riding.

Kelly, who has been devoted to developing and delivering services to those affected by homelessness in Hull for many years now, describes Emmaus as inclusive, life-changing and empowering.

“Loss of self-esteem is a major obstacle for many who experience homelessness, but it is one they must overcome. People who live in Emmaus communities make a real contribution,” she adds.

Emmaus opened its purpose-built community home, The Orchard, in 2016. Since then, the accommodation has provided a safe place for up to thirty people at a time.

Alongside this, the on-site workshops and work experience opportunities in Emmaus’ furniture superstore offer individuals a chance to improve their employability and integrate with the wider community.

The charity was first founded in Paris in 1949 by father, MP and Catholic priest Henri-Antoine Grouès (better known as Abbé Pierre). It all began when a man called Georges was brought to Pierre after a failed suicide attempt. The man had recently been released after serving two decades in prison and found that his family were unable to cope with his return. He had nowhere to go and became the first Emmaus Companion.

After this, Pierre resigned as an MP and decided to devote his life to combatting homelessness and poverty. Using the rest of his salary to pay Georges and another eighteen men, he set up the first Emmaus community.

The Companions became “rag pickers” who collected unwanted belongings and sold them on, which became the first Emmaus social enterprise.

This spirit lives on in the five Hull-based Emmaus stores that sell secondhand homewares, clothing and furniture to raise funds for the charity. There is one on Newland Avenue, Hessle Road, Preston Road, Whitefriargate, and a furniture superstore close to The Orchard.

“The public and businesses can support us by donating items they no longer want or use to one of our many shops,” Kelly explains. “We also welcome anyone who would like to fundraise for us or get involved in our activities.”

Meanwhile, Emmaus is running a campaign to help rough sleepers. The Rough Sleeper Outreach Service is available throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

If you have concerns about someone who is sleeping on the streets anywhere in Hull or the East Riding, Emmaus urges that you report it directly to them. You can do this by emailing for Hull and for the East Riding. The charity can then offer constructive support.

Visit Emmaus online to stay up to date with the charity’s fundraising events.

Enjoy more Hull and East Yorkshire news on HEY Today

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Published: Wednesday 27th December 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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