Emmaus Colchester received the John Thompson Award for Solidarity from Emmaus UK president Terry Waite CBE at the annual Emmaus federation Assembly.

The award was launched in 2008 in memory of former Emmaus UK fundraising manager John Thompson who passed away in 2007 and recognises an outstanding act of solidarity by an Emmaus community, judged by an Emmaus committee.

Solidarity is one the most important parts of the Emmaus ethos, and can vary from raising money for a charity that means a lot to a companion (formerly homeless person) or community, to doing work to help someone in the wider local community. 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.

Emmaus Colchester received the award as a result of companions, staff, and volunteers participating in a variety of solidarity acts throughout 2017. These acts range from teaming up with Colchester Foodbank to collect over 250 Christmas presents for the children of low income families, to distributing essential items to rough sleepers during the winter months, and taking part in Colchester’s 5K colour run and the Essex Way Walk.

The acts of solidarity by Emmaus Colchester throughout the year have helped to support organisations such as Colchester Hospitals Charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young, Headway Essex, as well as local families, less fortunate children, low income individuals, and people sleeping rough.

Solidarity is at the heart of everything we do at Emmaus. We try to encourage our companions to think bigger and get involved with causes that they feel passionate about, as there is nothing more rewarding than the act of giving. Everyone here at Emmaus Colchester is honoured to be recognised for the work we have done within the local area and we are looking forward to continuing our solidarity work.

Gintare Petrauskaite, Community Manager at Emmaus Colchester

Previous winners of the John Thompson Award for Solidarity includes Emmaus Gloucestershire, Emmaus Coventry and Warwickshire, Emmaus Cambridge, Emmaus Preston, Emmaus Brighton & Hove, and Emmaus Hertfordshire.

Emmaus Colchester is one of 29 Emmaus communities across the country supporting more than 750 companions across the UK by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem to help rebuild their lives.