December is a particularly busy time of year for Emmaus Hull and East Riding. Companions are preparing for how they will spend the festive period and the outreach team are busy providing support to some of the area’s most vulnerable individuals, not to mention the other services we offer.

It’s also at this time of year that we start planning for how the following year will unfold; with the vital work we do requiring meticulous preparation. Amongst all this activity it can be easy to forget about what we have already achieved.

So, here we take a look at just some of the major accomplishments and success stores we have to shout about from 2018.

One of the most rewarding projects we undertook this year was the ‘next day, next day’ initiative, which saw some of our companions record their stories. It is still available to listen to here. This was a vital way of demonstrating, in very real terms, just how our work can impact their lives for the better. It was an emotional day and drove many of those involved to tears with comments such as, ‘hard hitting’ and ‘I’m grateful for the journey I am now on’ reflecting the mood. But perhaps noting encapsulates the value of our work more than the story from one companion, who hadn’t had contact with his daughter for a prolonged period, revealing she had been in touch after hearing his story.

We also welcomed World Homeless Day to our superstore on Lockwood Street. The international event, aimed at raising issues around homelessness, took place on October 10 and saw some of the region’s most prominent individuals within the industry such as Ben Hanson, housing strategy leader at Hull City Council and Anna Manetta-Stark, communications and fundraising manager, Big Issue North, talk on a range of subjects. It was a huge success and a real coup for us to bring together such high profile speakers for a big event to Hull.

The charity was also nominated in two categories at the annual Hull BID awards. As a relatively young organisation this was a massive achievement and vindication of what we’re trying to do. Although we missed out in one category, we were delighted to pick up an award on the night for contribution to the community. This year we’re looking to build on our recent success and are hoping to be nominated in three categories. You can vote for us here.

There has been a huge effort from everyone involved with the charity this year. Staff and companions have contributed a combined total of more than 6,000 hours of work time, which has lead to 69 new rough sleepers in Hull and 41 new rough sleepers in the East Riding being identified. On average we supported (in some capacity) 37 rough sleepers each week.

Over the last 12 months, 120 homeless people have been accommodated by Emmaus Hull and East Riding. In Hull, the rough sleeper estimate has reduced by two from last year to an estimated 26 at the end of 2018. By the end of next year we aim to have reduced this by a further four. In the East Riding, rough sleepers have been reduced by two and currently stands at eight.

It’s been a fantastic year for us. Thanks to all who have supported us and here’s to another great year in 2019.