As part of our Building a Better Future project, we have received £230,000 to help revamp our historic community base at Archcliffe Fort.

The 16th-Century Archcliffe Fort is more than a local landmark and English Heritage site. It provides a safe home for 27 people who have spent years living without one. The people supported by Emmaus Dover, known as companions, are each given their own ensuite room, plus the chance to work and learn new skills in our upcycling workshop, online store and two charity shops – reopening from Monday 12 April.

The Building a Better Future project aims to secure the long-term future of Emmaus Dover at Archcliffe Fort, while opening up more opportunities for our companions. The four phases of the project include building a new dedicated workshop for repairing, restoring and upcycling furniture, the construction of a new retail space, improving car parking for customers, and creating a destination for people to learn more about the rich history of Dover and Archcliffe Fort.

HGT Construction has been appointed to complete work on phase one, which involves building the new workshop and remodelling the old workshop into a warehouse and storage facility with a new PAT testing room. Companion Matt, who specialises in furniture restoration, said: “Having a workspace to create and manifest ideas will be fantastic. A warm, well-equipped workshop is my idea of paradise.”

Local supporters and charitable organisations, such as The Albert Hunt Trust, helped us reach our £230k target for phase one. Debbie Stevenson, Community Manager at Emmaus Dover, said: “We are very grateful to all of the foundations, trusts, groups and individuals who have financially contributed to this project. We would not have been able to build our new workshop without their help.”

Jane Deller Ray, Operations Manager at The Albert Hunt Trust, added: “The Albert Hunt Trust is a grant making charitable trust. A key area of our grant making is supporting charities that work with those at risk or who are homeless. We were pleased to support Emmaus Dover with a grant towards the creation of a new workshop that will continue to offer work and training opportunities for its companions.”

Fundraising for phase two, which involves building a new retail space and car park, will begin this year. For details on how to help, visit our fundraising hub.