Peter Pike was one of the founding members of Emmaus Burnley, who worked incredibly hard to get provision for homeless people in the area he served as MP. He was the original chairperson for the charity and founder, long before I joined Emmaus Burnley in 2016.
When the steering group formed in 2005, it was thanks Peter’s tenacity that Emmaus Burnley was able to secure the money to turn flats for older people into a home for homeless people, now known as Emmaus House on Old Hall Street in Burnley. Peter was also instrumental in securing the funding to pay support workers to help these residents, whom we refer to as companions.
Emmaus Burnley officially opened in January 2011 as the twentieth Emmaus community in the UK, 20 years after the first, and grew into to a community supporting up to 24 people. The charity provides accommodation, welfare support, training and work experience at new and secondhand stores in order to help people move on in their lives.
When I joined Emmaus Burnley in July 2016, Peter introduced me to many local strategic partners. He opened doors to help me build relationships for Emmaus Burnley, and hosted visits from Burnley Council Chief Executive, MP for Burnley (Julie Cooper at that time) and many others.
As well as providing leadership and guidance, Peter continued to organise biannual fundraising curry nights for Emmaus Burnley at Usha, right up until when the pandemic hit in March 2020. These brought in, not only vital funds, but also new supporters whom we were able to meet at events and talk to about Emmaus Burnley’s work.
When I spoke to him, Peter would always ask about how companions were doing, what their issues were and who had moved on in a positive way. In the summer of 2020, Peter was awarded an Emmaus UK 30th Anniversary Founders’ Medal from the national body of our charity to mark his outstanding voluntary service, which he was proud to receive.
During my time at this homelessness charity, we have supported over 200 formerly homeless people, and without Peters drive and determination to find the money to set up and establish an Emmaus community in Burnley with his original committee members, we would not exist at all. This charity is a legacy he leaves to support homeless people for a long time to come.
Peter’s funeral takes place on Thursday 13th January 2022 with a service at Burnley St Peter’s Parish Church at 10:30am, followed by a committal at Burnley Crematorium at 12:15pm. For anyone who cannot attend, there will be a live stream on the St Peter’s Church Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/StPetersParishChurchBurnley. His family has requested that any donations in his memory go to St Peter’s Church and Emmaus Burnley.