We have been in Archcliffe Fort since 1995 but the buildings were in various states of dilapidation then so we were only partly operational in the early years. After spending around £500,000, we have been fully operational on the site since July 1998.
The community has its own business, mainly centred around the collection, repair, renovation and resale of donated goods of all sorts, with particular emphasis on furniture and electrical white goods.
In addition, some new goods are made in the community workshop, using recycled materials wherever possible. We also do some gardening work.
The aim is that the community will be financially self-sustaining.
In the year up to the end of June 2017, we provided “a home” for 9778 days and nights; our average occupancy rate has been 85% of capacity.
In 1994 Francis Watts was helping his wife, Anne, at the soup kitchen in Dover.
A conversation developed between Francis and a gentleman about what he thought was needed in Dover. The reply came, ‘We all have our hideaways, but we are bored to tears during the day’. The idea of creating an Emmaus community in Dover was born.