Over 100 supporters, dignitaries and members of the public joined us for a local screening of documentary movie, ‘I’m Still Here’, featuring Chris, a companion in our community.

The poignant and hard-hitting film, which was rolled out at selected London cinemas after its premiere in December, was shown in a one-off screening at Rothamsted Conference Centre in Harpenden last night (Wednesday 24 April).

Chris joined our community in 2020, after being supported by homelessness charity Under One Sky whose incredible work is highlighted in the film documenting their support of homeless people in London during the pandemic.

Chris hit the big screen in December when the film by Hope Film Limited, was premiered in London, watched by a star-studded audience including Mick Jagger, his daughter Jade and Elizabeth McGovern of Downton Abbey.

Hosting its Hertfordshire debut yesterday, we welcomed guests including Patrons of Emmaus Hertfordshire, Lord Charles Cecil and Lady Virginia Cecil, Chair of Trustees, Heather Hurford, High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Annie Brewster and Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Councillor Anthony Rowlands,

Opening the evening, Duncan Lewis, our Chief Executive said: “When you see this film, I am sure that you will agree that the message it conveys about the challenges of homelessness, and homelessness during a pandemic in particular, and also the positive power of volunteering, are both sobering and inspirational.

“We’re delighted that Emmaus plays a small part in the story and also that we can help do our bit to help this film get to a wider audience.”

The movie was followed by a questions and answers session with the film’s director Franc Vissers, Under One Sky Founder Mikkel Juel Iversen, Emmaus Hertfordshire resident (known by the charity as a companion), Chris, and Curtis, a former Emmaus companion who now works as a chef for Rothamsted Research, where the film was screened.

In March 2020, citizens around the world were ordered to stay at home. For those with no home to go to, an already desperate situation quickly became life threatening; everything and everyone had gone.

This film gives Chris, affectionately called ‘Pops’ in the movie, and his contemporaries a powerful voice during this disturbing time and highlights the efforts of Under One Sky, who defied the virus and stepped out to support these vulnerable people.

‘I’m Still Here’ is a film made to give people on the streets a voice. Through the efforts of an emerging outreach organisation, Under One Sky, the film reveals the power of human connection and what can be achieved through community and compassion. A reminder that at the heart of humanity lies hope.

Thanks were also given on the night to a talented group of media students from the University of Hertfordshire who produced a short film focusing on the work of Emmaus Hertfordshire, detailing the companions’ stories, their journeys and the support they have received by the charity.

If you would like to help the work of Emmaus in supporting formerly homeless people like Chris and Curtis to a brighter future, please donate here.