Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn has visited companions, staff and volunteers at Emmaus Leeds to learn more about the charity and how it supports people who have experienced homelessness.

On Friday 5 July, Hilary Benn MP visited the Emmaus Leeds community, meeting with several formerly homeless people who are turning their lives around with help from the charity. Emmaus Leeds supports 26 formerly homeless people by offering a home, work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to get back on their feet again.

Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central, said: “I greatly enjoyed my visit to Emmaus Leeds and was much impressed by the work that the organisation is doing and the support it offers to its residents to help them to move on in their lives. It is a truly inspirational project and I wish everyone involved all the best.”

Hilary met with 58 year old Phil, a former beneficiary of Emmaus Leeds who has since secured his own flat and a full-time job at the charity.

Phil said: “The thing I’ve gained most from Emmaus is a sense of wellbeing. It’s an optimism that there are better things ahead and I wanted to partake in that.

“It was great to meet someone who was here at the beginning of Emmaus Leeds’s journey 15 years ago. Hilary seemed very pleased with what the community has become, and it was good for him to see first-hand, the benefits of our social enterprise and fundraising activity.”

Emmaus Leeds supports formerly homeless people by providing them with a stable home and meaningful work for as long as they need it. The charity has its main community building and social enterprise on St Mary’s Street, a stall at Kirkgate Market and a charity shop in Halton.

Liza Kellett, Trustee of Emmaus Leeds, said: “It was such a pleasure to welcome back Mr Benn to our community, particularly as he’d been so supportive in the early planning days. Now we have shown him that the Emmaus social enterprise model is sustainable and sustaining. Here we are 16 years on, still supporting homeless people and building their confidence and skills.”

To find out more about the work of Emmaus Leeds head to www.emmaus.org.uk/leeds. For more information, to donate an item or get involved as a volunteer call 0113 248 4288 or visit Emmaus Leeds at St Mary’s Street, Leeds, LS9 7DP.