After many years of fundraising, including opening a charity shop, the group worked with Genesis Housing Corporation to build and open a purpose-built community, providing accommodation for 20 Emmaus companions and one member of staff.

Since then, the business has expanded to encompass four shops and a warehouse located across Colchester. This success of the social enterprise has allowed us to rent three extra properties, which provide move-on accommodation for companions who feel ready to move into independent living again. We now have room for 33 companions.

Around 37 people per year are benefiting from the support offered at Emmaus Colchester, with many using their time with us to regain their self-esteem and re-establish family contacts, helping them to move on successfully with their lives. We are proud that four of our former companions have gone on to become Emmaus employees.