A Stoke-on-Trent charity, who had to suspend the majority of its services when the coronavirus struck, has been busy supporting a local authority to create self-isolation units for homeless people.

Not only were all staff members at Emmaus North Staffs recently furloughed, apart from executive lead John Webbe, but also the doors were closed on their own charity shop Emmaus Furniture Mine on 23, March.

But in recent weeks John Webbe, who also manages the charity shop, has been busy assisting Stoke-on-Trent City Council by supplying essential items of furniture such as beds and sofas to help furnish more than 30 new homeless units suitable for self-isolation purposes.

“As a charity focused on preventing homelessness, it’s crucial to our ethos to support local partners like the City Council to make sure people are homed and safe during this terrible pandemic,” said John.

“During what is already a very difficult time for many, having somewhere that can be called home is vital. So we have tried to help the council where we can and we have provided them with some quality furniture from our shop.”

Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown said: “We have worked hard since the coronavirus outbreak to support people who are at high risk of catching the disease and are sleeping rough, into accommodation to help them to self-isolate. This work has included working with local hotels and other housing providers, and reviewing our own housing stock to assess which could be used to offer urgent accommodation to homeless households. Emmaus Furniture Mine was commissioned by the council and has helped to provide essential furniture to households in need. We’re grateful to John Webbe for promptly helping to support this work.”

In light of the temporary closure of Emmaus Furniture Mine to the public, the charity also quickly turned to offering an online sales service which is available via their Facebook page.

John adds: “We had to furlough all of our staff and close Emmaus Furniture Mine to the public, but in recent weeks we have been able to offer a click and collect service at the shop. Orders can be placed via our Facebook Page and our wide range of furniture and household items can also be viewed via our page.

“We have essential social distancing measures in place and we are also able to accept donations which can  be dropped off at the front door on set days each week. Emmaus Furniture Mine is vital to support us a charity and we welcome all donations.”

Donations can be made at Emmaus Furniture Mine, Canon Place, Hanley on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10am -2pm. You can find more about the click and collect service here www.facebook.com/FurnitureMine

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