Ten years on, we now support 23 people who have experienced homelessness by offering them a home for as long as they need it, plus the chance to work, train and learn new skills for future employment.

One of those people is Jim*, who spent three years living on the streets in Brighton and Eastbourne before moving into a room of his own at Emmaus Hastings & Rother.

Jim says: “People look down at you when you’re homeless, but there are some genuine people out there that have fallen on hard times. I used to have to keep an eye or an ear open every time I went to sleep, but then you come to a place like Emmaus and you forget all that.

“It’s nice ‘cause you meet people here that are in the same boat as you and have come here to move on. It’s a good little community. I just can’t praise Emmaus enough. They’ve put so much oomph back in my life. I feel like I’m a better person now.”

David Cooper, Chair and founding member of Emmaus Hastings & Rother, has recently been awarded a special service medal to honour his outstanding contribution to the Emmaus movement. David adds: “It has been fantastic to watch the Emmaus Hastings & Rother community grow over the last 10 years and see the many lives that have changed for the better during that time.

“When we opened our doors in 2011 there was a real local need for a community of this kind, and we have worked hard to become a valuable part of the town, supporting people through a place to live, work and training to help them get back on their feet. I’m enormously proud of what we do, and pay tribute to our staff, residents and trustees, together with all of the local organisations and individuals that have supported us along the way – none of this would have happened without you.”

2021 also marks 30 years of Emmaus in the UK, and there are now 29 Emmaus communities across the country. Emmaus Hastings & Rother was the UK’s 21st Emmaus community.