Emmaus Cambridge is sharing the progress of its fundraising and ten-room expansion campaign to show supporters of the new build how their donations will help people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.

The fundraising and expansion campaign, #10FreshStarts, launched in January 2018 at the Emmaus Cambridge site in Landbeach, and will see an extra ten rooms built as part of a two-story extension. The charity raised £150,000 for the expansion and invited supporters to buy a brick to help raise the remaining £150,000 needed for completion.

Emmaus Cambridge currently supports 34 formerly homeless companions by offering more than just a roof over their head. Companions are provided with a home for as long as needed, as well as meaningful work, training and support to help them rebuild their lives. The new build will enable the charity to welcome ten extra companions into the community and increase their capacity to 44.

Emmaus companion Ian, 71, arrived at the community in 1997 following 15 years of homelessness:

“Before I came to Emmaus, I spent my time back and forth between live-in jobs and sleeping on the streets. I don’t have a good family background and suffered with mental health problems, self-harming and spent a long time in psychiatric care.”

Ian is one of the oldest companions out of the 29 Emmaus communities across the UK:

“I doubt there are many older than me at Emmaus and I’m the longest staying companion at Emmaus Cambridge. I have been here through a lot of changes and watched the community grow. I am happy I’ll get to see the new build and it will be good for Emmaus to help more companions like they’ve helped me.”

How has #10FreshStarts progressed? 

The build, which is expected to be complete by June 2018, is well underway.

The month of January began with the foundations being dug out and filled with concrete. Blocks were then inserted and built up to the first floor.

10FreshStarts Progress January cropped for web

February saw the block work completed to the first floor, removal of the windows on the existing adjoining wall and the separation of the new rooms. Brick work began on the community kitchen and dining room extension.

10FreshStarts Progress February

In March all block work for the ten new rooms was completed to roof height and the wall of the existing corridor has now been knocked through in preparation for room entry.

10FreshStarts Progress March

Marking the half way point of #10FreshStarts, the Emmaus Cambridge community welcomed MP of South East Cambridgeshire Lucy Frazer on Friday 23 March. The local MP met with Emmaus companions and toured the community and charity shop warehouse before being invited to view the new build.

Companions John and Ian posed for a picture with Lucy in the charity’s foyer, which has now become the central information point for visitors to monitor the progress of #10FreshStarts.

Diane Docherty, Emmaus Cambridge Chief Executive, said:

“We have been working towards expanding our community for the last couple of years, especially in light of the growing levels of homelessness across the country. People don’t just recover from the causes and effects of homelessness in a few years, it takes a long time. We work to provide our companions with long-term support for as long as they need it, and the extra 10 rooms mean that we can help 44 people rather than 34.

“The community is delighted to receive support from Lucy Frazer and it was a pleasure to have her in the community.”

To find out more about Emmaus Cambridge, visit us at Green End, Landbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9FD.

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