Emmaus Dover is celebrating after being awarded £45,000 from the Clothworkers’ Foundation for its ‘Building a Better Future’ project.

Emmaus Dover provides a home for up to 27 people for as long as they need it and the opportunity to gain new skills in its charity shops in Ashford, Canterbury and Dover. Residents of the charity, known as companions, live in a communal setting, receive support to rebuild their lives and work together to upcycle and sell donated items to raise funds for the community.

The Building a Better Future project

The Building a Better Future project aims to secure the long-term future and sustainability of Emmaus Dover. The project will develop facilities at the Archcliffe Fort site to create more opportunities for our companions, increase revenue, provide new income streams and create a historical place of interest for the people living, working and visiting Dover and the Fort.

The project will be delivered in four phases, each of which will need to be completed before the next stage can begin to ensure minimum disruption and financial impact to the day to day running of the charity.

Phase one of the Building a Better Future project is to build a new modern workshop for repairing and up-scaling furniture for resale and refurbish the existing workshop space to become a new warehouse, PAT testing area and storage.

The donation from the Clothworkers’ Foundation

The generous donation from the Clothworkers’ Foundation will help build a modern new workshop for repairing donated furniture. Items from the workshop are then sold in the three Emmaus shops in Canterbury, Dover and Ashford. Work on the new workshop will begin once all the funds have been raised.

Companions at Emmaus are all formerly homeless and learn new skills in the workshop. They also gain qualifications to test electrical items before they are sold.

What it means for those supported by Emmaus

Lawrence, a companion at Emmaus Dover, said:

“I have come on leaps and bounds in the time that I’ve been at Emmaus Dover. I work in the warehouse, in the shop and I’m now a qualified PAT tester. This means I can test electrical items to ensure they are safe to be sold. I like the variety; it keeps me moving – it keeps me alive. My main goal for the future is employment. I am going to look into doing something with the PAT testing and warehouse skills I’ve gained whilst I’ve been here. To be honest, that I am actually still alive now is a miracle in itself. Emmaus has been there for me throughout my journey and I’m truly grateful.”

Debbie Stevenson, Community Manager at Emmaus Dover, said:

“We are grateful to The Clothworker’s Foundation for this incredible donation. The funding means that we are one step closer to starting the work for phase one of our Building a Better Future project. This will ensure that we can continue to support people who have been homeless and socially excluded by providing a home, training and the opportunity to work.”

Emmaus Dover are currently fundraising for its Building a Better Future project. To complete phase one of the project, the charity is looking to raise £230,000. If you want to support the charity or find out more about the project, please visit https://emmaus.org.uk/dover/building-a-better-future-fundraising-appeal/