Emmaus North Staffs – Helping to prevent homelessness…
COMMUNITY is a strong word which can mean so many things to different people. It could be a group of people living in the same place or it could be sharing and having certain attitudes and interests in common. Community is relating to a network of people and having relationships…To therefore find yourself outside of a community, with no support and no home can be a daunting prospect – but it could happen to anyone.
At Emmaus North Staffs Charity the emphasis is very much on preventing the latter of those things and sharing an ethic which not only helps individuals to become companions, but help to show a way to live together in a sustainable and aspirational community.
“If someone has been homeless it can be very difficult to then go back into society and maintain a home,” says Emmaus North Staffs executive lead, John Webbe.
“People can quite easily fall into the trap of going back on their lives and can struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, or poor mental health, or PTSD, or many other debilitating conditions. It’s all about breaking the vicious cycle of homelessness and making a more personal approach to individuals.
“We are very much working with people to help them rebuild their lives. We help to work with people to help them create a better future and provide an opportunity for people to rebuild their lives and experiences – to get some self worth and self confidence back.”
One way of helping to rebuild a persons life is by teaching life and work skills and Emmaus North Staffs do this via their furniture store – Emmaus Furniture Mine – North Staffordshire’s largest reuse charity.
John, who also manages the Hanley store, adds: “When people work with us in the store, we see a change in them and you can see how a persons confidence grows. We have also had one gentleman who went on to set up his own business after spending time with us – which was brilliant.
“At Emmaus North Staffs we value the importance of long term goals for individuals and by having the Furniture Mine shop we are able to help people on their journey, so the two compliment each other – and need each other.”
Emmaus North Staffs is an independent charity based in Stoke-on-Trent and a member of Emmaus International, a federation of over 350 Emmaus groups & charities that started in the 1950s in France before coming to the UK in the 1990s. The vision is for everyone to have a home and a sense of belonging and Emmaus North Staffs aim for the future is to become the 30th Emmaus Community in the UK by developing residential accommodation.
The community housing will then allow for Emmaus companions to not only develop work skills, but also benefit from a home for as long as they need it.
John also stresses that Emmaus North Staffs want to become the first of the 30 communities in the country that will not take housing benefit.
He says: “We do not want to rely on external funding and we want to be totally self-sufficient. There will be criteria to meet and it is the furniture store which will also play a big part in enabling us to reach our aim.”
At Emmaus Furniture Mine there is an abundance of items for sale ranging from electrical goods to quality sofas, beds, wardrobes, units and more – all of which are at affordable prices.
The store is open to the public six days a week and free deliveries for orders over £50 are available.
“We have such a range of items for sale,” adds John. “We have anything from cutlery to beds and sofas at very affordable prices. Our doors are always open if people want to come in and have a browse – and more often than not our customers always find something they like.”
**Volunteers at Emmaus Furniture Mine are also welcome.**
For contact details and more information click here.