Our homelessness charity Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland is this week celebrating the purchase of three new buildings in Hinckley, to be used as part of plans for a charity shop expansion and new accommodation for formerly homeless people.

After nine years, we’re so excited to take ownership of our previously rented Emporium shop on Stockwell Head. We now also hold the keys to the two vacant buildings either side.

This summer, we plan to knock through and double the size of the Emporium, which currently specialises in second-hand furniture and household goods. This will provide space for more stock on the shop floor and also allow for the addition of a preloved clothing department.

Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland offers people who have experienced homelessness a safe home for as long as they need it, alongside day-to-day support, funded training, and the opportunity to gain new skills and work experience.

We’ll now begin raising funds to reach our longer-term goal of converting the rest of the new property into on-site accommodation.

Speaking about the purchase, Mir Juma, CEO of Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland, said: “We’re so thrilled that after years of trying to find a way to establish a permanent base in Hinckley, we now have our own place! We’ve been helping local people out of homelessness since 2012, but our Hinckley shops and accommodation have always been rented.

“This is the first step towards bigger and better things. We hope our Emporium extension will help raise money for us to build bedrooms and living spaces next door. In future, our community will be able to offer a home and support to many more formerly homeless people, all on one site.”

The property purchases were made possible thanks to a £15,000 grant from Leicestershire County Council, as well as funds from Emmaus UK of £100,000.

Steve has been supported by Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland since 2013, after 18 years of living on the streets: “When I was homeless, I lived from day to day, not knowing when or if it would ever end. That’s all changed now I’ve found Emmaus. There are 16 of us living in our current residential building. We share the everyday running of the property and we all socialise together; we try to be there to support each other, just like in a family. The staff also give us support and help each of us through our individual problems.

“It’s so exciting to see Emmaus own our buildings and start to build something that belongs to us. I’m looking forward to having an input in the planning process and hope that in future it will mean that more people like me can be helped.”

Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland hopes to open the new-look Emporium (Stockwell Head, LE10 1RD) in September this year. The shop remains open whilst building work is completed; opening hours are Monday to Saturday: 9.30am – 4pm.

Ahead of opening the new clothing department, our charity is now calling for volunteers to help sort and steam donated clothing ready for the shop floor. Anyone interested can call Matt Taylor at the Emporium on 01455 637587.