As well as supporting companions to rebuild their lives after homelessness, we show support to other causes, charities and initiatives. For the people who complete solidarity actions, it can also bring many personal benefits to their health, wellbeing and understanding of the world. 

What is solidarity? 

The dictionary definition of solidarity is to show support for each other or for another group, especially in political or international affairs.

Solidarity is essentially helping others who are vulnerable or experiencing difficulties. It involves standing together and supporting one another in times of need, without judgement or discrimination. It can be expressed through various actions, such as donations, activism, or volunteering, all aimed at promoting the greater good of society. Solidarity is a powerful force that can inspire positive change. 

What solidarity means at Emmaus Greenwich

At Emmaus, solidarity is one of our core values, as the movement began with a single act of solidarity. One night, a man named Georges Legay was brought to Emmaus founder, Abbé Pierre, after a failed suicide attempt. Georges had recently been released from prison and had nowhere to go. He turned to Abbé Pierre for help. Instead, Abbé Pierre offered him the opposite of charity, asking Georges to “help him help others,” by building accommodation for homeless families:

“I have nothing to give you but my friendship and my plea to share in my efforts so that together we can save others. The only true gift is to help another to be able to become a giver in their turn thus creating a wonderful chain, without limits, of sharing and initiation in the reality of love.” 

Today, we continue to live by this philosophy and carry out regular acts of solidarity throughout the year for both local and international causes. Our solidarity actions are many and varied. We regularly offer support to anyone sleeping rough or struggling with poverty in London through our Street Souls outreach service, but we also carry out and engage in many one-off events, fundraising and volunteering activities, and donations to people and communities in need. 

Street Souls
Outreach in the city

Street Souls

Street Souls offers support to anyone sleeping rough or struggling with poverty in London. We run two outreach services in the city: Street Souls Westminster and Street Souls Greenwich.

We offer support to anyone who is struggling financially, from families who cannot afford food, retired people experiencing loneliness and social exclusion, to people who are sleeping rough. If you are not sure if this includes you, we encourage you to come along and have a conversation with our friendly team who will be more than happy to help you.

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Solidarity Furniture Aid
Support to furnish your home

Solidarity Furniture Aid

At Emmaus Greenwich, we support people and communities in need by providing Solidarity Furniture Aid to people experiencing furniture poverty in London.

If you need help to furnish your home, your agency worker (e.g. social worker, resettlement officer, medical practitioner) can apply for Solidarity Furniture Aid from Emmaus on your behalf. If your application is successful, you will receive a Solidarity Voucher that you can exchange for a pack of pre-selected items, subject to stock availability.

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Our solidarity news

The benefits of solidarity

The impact of solidarity is far-reaching, going beyond the initial act.

It benefits the giver as well as the recipient.

Not only does solidarity provide vital support for people experiencing difficulties, but it is also beneficial to those who carry out solidarity actions, as it helps people to feel an inner happiness. For Emmaus companions, taking part in solidarity enables them to give back. This is often key to rebuild feelings of self-worth – as they recognise that everyone has the capacity to make a difference to the life of others, it can help them feel rewarded, fulfilled and empowered.

It creates a network of personal and institutional bonds.

Acts of solidarity depend on and create bonds that connect neighbours who might have not otherwise interacted. These solidarity bonds strengthen community resilience and establish a network that benefits all through an ethos of ‘paying it forward’. This also creates waves of kindness as people witnessing solidarity acts can feel inspired to take action themselves.

It offers a taste of what a Solidarity Economy could look like.

A solidarity economy prioritises social profitability instead of purely financial profits. This term is becoming more and more relevant for our communities, and Emmaus Greenwich’s ethos and system of ‘paying it forward’ offers a taste of what could be achieved if a solidarity economy was implemented on a larger scale.



“Solidarity is an exchange of selfless actions leaning on real work and an established network that works to build stronger, more resilient communities.”

Darek Karwacki, Solidarity Development Manager at Emmaus Greenwich