Local homelessness charity Emmaus Colchester celebrated the 10th birthday of its community house on Friday (17 August) with a special event at its Warehouse Shop on Arthur Street.

Emmaus president Terry Waite opened the event with a speech, which celebrated all that the organisation has achieved over the last 10 years to help reduce homelessness in Colchester.

The celebration was attended by Deputy Mayor Nick Cope, along with Séamus Fox, a former companion at Emmaus Colchester now based at Emmaus Cambridge, who read passages from his recently published book ‘No Homeless Problem & Other Poems’. Seamus has spent the past two years working on his book, a collection of 71 poems based on the stories of 44 formerly homeless people supported by Emmaus across the UK.

Denise King, CEO at Emmaus Colchester, said: “It has been a wonderful event and we are so pleased that everyone joined us to celebrate our 10th birthday. We are incredibly proud of what Emmaus Colchester has achieved over the last 10 years, and it is testament to the dedication and commitment of our companions that our community is such a success.

“Our aim is to continue to build on this success in the future, by increasing the opportunities that we can give our companions, as well as providing more accommodation for those who need support.”

Emmaus Colchester provides a home and meaningful work for up to 36 companions who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion, offering them an alternative route out of homelessness within a supportive environment.

Companions volunteer full time while they are at Emmaus selling second-hand furniture and household goods at its two Emmaus charity shops on the High Street, an Emmaus Works shop on Osborne Street and a warehouse at Arthur Street.