On Saturday, 11th May, Emmaus Greenwich celebrated their silver anniversary, marking 25 years of helping people to turn their lives around following homelessness.
Plumstead-based charity, Emmaus Greenwich, was officially opened in 1994 by Charles, Prince of Wales, and Emmaus founder Abbe Pierre. Since the opening, the charity has provided a home and meaningful work for over 750 people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.
In celebration of the charity’s silver anniversary, staff, residents, trustees and volunteers attended an on-site garden party and enjoyed speeches, a BBQ, pool tournament, and outside games. Also in attendance was the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Christine May, who pledged to support Emmaus Greenwich during her 2018/19 term.
Emmaus Greenwich is about more than providing a bed for the night. The charity encourages residents, like William, to realise that they can help others too, which plays a big part in regaining self-esteem, dignity and confidence that has been lost because of homelessness. William has lived at the Emmaus Greenwich community since 2010 after losing his job and flat:
“I do a lot of solidarity work at Emmaus Greenwich. It’s what I love most. We help single parents with children and they have nothing. We build them furniture and a bed, for nothing, and sometimes you end up crying because you see someone so grateful for what many takes for granted. They’ve got nothing, but we’ve given them something. That’s what makes it all worthwhile, and that’s what gives you back your self-esteem.”
As an international movement that came to the UK in 1991, research shows that every £1 invested in an Emmaus community £11 is generated in social, environmental and economic returns. This includes annual savings to the Department of Health for NHS and emergency services costs, local government for hostel accommodation, addiction services and landfill costs, as well as savings to the Ministry of Justice by keeping people out of prison.
Through the successful running of its three charity shops in Plumstead, Lee and Poplar, Emmaus Greenwich continues to generate the funds it needs to sustain its community home, as well as provide work opportunities, a weekly allowance, access to support staff and courses to aid personal development for people who are rebuilding their lives following homelessness.
To find out more about Emmaus Greenwich, please visit www.emmaus.org.uk/greenwich.