Whilst the social enterprise exists first and foremost to generate the income for the community’s work with formerly homeless people, provision is also made for other marginalised people who may be struggling to establish or maintain a home.
The initial act of solidarity in the UK was given to Emmaus Cambridge in 1991 by Abbé Piérre who gifted £50,000 to the founders of this community, with the express wish that it was given to another community when Cambridge could afford it. That initial £50,000 was transferred to Emmaus Coventry in 2001 and has continued to be recycled ever since in the form of solidarity grants.
What acts of solidarity does Emmaus Cambridge do?
Acts of solidarity can vary from small acts of kindness to others in our community, to raising money for a charity that means a lot to the companions, staff or trustees of the community to doing work to help someone in the wider local community.
- For the first time in 2018, the community partnered with the Prospects Trust. This was rolled over for another year, as both the Trust and companions are getting a huge amount out of the partnership. This partnership is supported by a signed MOU.
- We provide a housing package for people moving on from homelessness. These packages are accessed through a referral from other agencies.
- Customers can be given a 25% discount on proof of low income or benefit (at the discretion of the staff team). This discount is not calculated in the solidarity totals.
- Emmaus Cambridge has supported Emmaus Poland and the Stra Mare community in Romania by sending 2 containers of goods per year. 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.
- Solidarity beds are beds for companion’s who have no recourse to public funds, so companions do not need to claim housing benefit to occupy one of these beds. They get all the same benefits as other companions who do get housing benefit.
- We are often approached to support other UK communities, and this can be with donated goods, or grants to support projects or with seed companions or staff to work in the other community.