Emmaus Colchester has joined forces with Emmaus Suffolk to help support one another during this challenging time.
“Emmaus Suffolk is our nearest neighbour and they have always been the first ones to help,” explains Denise King, ceo at Emmaus Colchester.
“Federation members are very supportive of each other generally and being so physically close has given us both a great advantage to work more closely together,” adds Claire Staddon, chief executive, Emmaus Suffolk.
Solidarity is at the heart of the Emmaus ethos and this relationship between the two communities is a heartening example of how it works in practise.
“Anything that either community has a surplus of or access to is shared,” explains Claire, “In this way we have shared staff resources, PPE equipment, furniture and knowledge and experience to help both organisations thrive, not just in these challenging circumstances but long term.
“As members of a federation our two organisations have a very different offer so by working together we complement each other and give more people access to choices and routes of engagement in the locality,” explains Claire.
Emmaus Colchester has gained Emma Francis, a support worker, for two days a week, while Emmaus Suffolk has been supplied with furniture and white goods for its first community house.
While both communities are helping each other, they are also sharing knowledge of different experiences.
“Emmaus Suffolk is unlike most Emmaus models and hasn’t had a community house, until now. Instead it supports is companions during the day, who volunteer and work in the community’s three shops,” explains Denise.” By working with us Emma is able to experience what it’s like to run a community house with live-in companions.”
This experience has come at an optimum time as Emmaus Suffolk is in the process of recruiting three companions to its first community house. “They will be supported to budget, cook, clean and live independently in the shared accommodation,” explains Claire.
With a wealth of housing experience from previous roles within a very challenging sector, Emma has been able to give a significant contribution during her time at Emmaus Colchester. “Emma really enjoys working with the community members and is impressed with their work ethic, openness and respect. They are really nice people,” adds Claire.
This act of solidarity is something that Denise would like to continue, “During these challenging times we are helping one another out for the good of the companions. It’s a new way of working that we’d like to keep. We are embracing change and enjoying the positive effect of working together.”
Photo caption: Emma Francis, support worker from Emmaus Suffolk, outside the new community house in Ipswich.