One of the most important parts of the Emmaus ethos is solidarity. This means working to help someone less fortunate than yourself.
This can be very valuable for Emmaus companions as it is often key to helping to rebuild self-esteem, proving that everyone has the capacity to make a difference to the lives of others.
We regularly make grants to other organisations not only within the Emmaus movement but also outside of it based on their need. The funds may come from our general income but quite often we will hold a special sale for a specific purpose.
We make use of containers and these have been particularly welcomed by our Emmaus colleagues in Romania where they can struggle to find solid furniture and other items good enough to sell. Items which may not be so popular here are welcomed there and by sending goods instead of a lump sum we are giving them the opportunity to earn their money. We estimate that a metric tonne of goods will earn the recipient community in the region £1,000, so a shipping cost to us of about £1,500 can be turned into a possible income of between £6,000 and £10,000.
Some of our companions have also taken part in Emmaus camps, including ones in Benin, and we are now exploring the possibility of sending containers there too.
We sell second-hand goods but not everyone is able to afford to buy even second-hand, so we will support people on certain basic benefits, or who are referred to us, by reducing the prices of our items even further. We also work closely with other organisations looking to support vulnerable and marginalised people by providing items and helping people who may not be able to furnish a home.
Emmaus Cambridge is supporting The Prospects Trust as its charity of the year for 2018/19.
The Prospects Trust supports adults who have learning difficulties, physical disabilities and those with varying health needs by offering supported day placements, training, and work experience opportunities on its 18-acre organic farm in Cambridge. The Prospect Trust will receive help from two Emmaus companions and one staff member each month to work with people supported at the Trust.