It’s Recycle Week (20th-26th September) and we’re using it to show that recycling isn’t just good for the environment, but it’s also a great way to help people overcome homelessness.

Our pop-up shop, Out of the Workshop, in St Albans High Street sells unique and bespoke upcycled items, all created using items that would otherwise have been sent to landfill. 


The companions living at Emmaus Hertfordshire are given training in upcycling furniture, and all the items sold in Out of the Workshop have been created by the formerly homeless people now living and working in our community

Items sold in the shop include upcycled dining tables and chairs, side tables, wardrobes and bedroom furniture. Some are given a simple sand and revarnish, while other items are completely transformed using the skills developed by the companions during their time with Emmaus.


All proceeds from the sale of these recycled items go straight back into the charity so we can continue to support others to rebuild their lives after homelessness. 


Out of the Workshop is not the only way Emmaus Hertfordshire uses recycling to support people to rebuild their lives after homelessness, while also reducing the impact on the environment. We are primarily funded through the sales of pre-loved donated goods in our charity shops in St Albans, Tring and Hemel Hempstead, and via our award-winning eBay shop and house clearance service, all of which diverts items away from landfill.


According to WRAP, it takes less energy and fewer emissions to recycle than to make things from scratch, which is why buying second-hand saves a total of 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year in the UK.


Duncan Lewis, Chief Executive at Emmaus Hertfordshire says: 


“We all know that recycling is good for the environment, but here in Hertfordshire, we’re also using it to support people out of homelessness.


“Experience shows us that when people are rebuilding their lives after experiencing homelessness, they need more than just a bed for the night. By providing our companions with meaningful work opportunities they can learn new skills, gain on the job experience and regain some of the self-esteem and confidence they may have lost while homeless.


“We are blown away by some of the furniture created by our companions using items that would otherwise be destined for landfill. Out of the Workshop is well worth a visit if you want to find a completely bespoke item for your home, while also supporting the work we do and helping to reduce the impact on the environment.”


All companions sign off benefits when moving to an Emmaus community, except for housing benefit, and work within the charity’s social enterprises. Living in a stable environment with the opportunity to gain new skills in a workplace allows people to regain lost self-esteem and confidence, helping them to get back on their feet and create a new future for themselves.