Rich’s visit to learn from Emmaus groups around Europe has sparked Emmaus Preston’s drive to give back to the local community, so the charity is inviting entries to a freezer we’re giving away with a voucher for food here.

Find out how shopping at Emmaus Preston supports our charitable work in the city by coming to About Us: In-Store event at Emmaus Preston Fishergate Furniture Charity Store on December 18 from 11am to 12noon. There will be a free talk and the recipient of the Christmas surprise will be announced! 

Rich’s blog about what he learned from the Emmaus Europe Assembly starts here:

I was excited before going. I’d never been to Romania before. It was beautiful, especially the people.

When I got there, I realised how lucky Emmaus communities are. The Netherlands communities and France have a strict policy where you can only stay in an Emmaus community for a limited amount of time because of their governments, whereas here we stay for longer if we need to.

I think the UK is a richer country and it shows. In Romania, Emmaus supports families and children. A community is called a group when it is part of Emmaus Europe. Some have shops, some have communities, where families look after the children while other members work.

Learning from others

Half of the European Assembly was about activism and protests. We do fight a good fight on an international level. I went to a workshop on discrimination in the community and how we can tackle it. I was representing Preston by saying that we do tackle anything like this really well. Some people don’t know about diversity. If people move in here and there are differences, we talk about it.

Another workshop was about moving on from Emmaus. We were talking about the moving on policies and how different they are, depending on the government you have, and what people have access to when they move out. I personally moved out of Emmaus and then came back. If you’ve moved out, I think it’s good that you are always welcome to pay a visit and talk to companions, as an ex-companion.

Ideas for the future

I have brought back to Emmaus Preston, a bit about solidarity. Ideas that start off small, from cleaning up to gardening and litter picking to supporting the local hospice or children’s hospital. It could be that Emmaus Preston companions volunteer somewhere for a day.

Emmaus Preston could do this in solidarity with others, and we could find there are a lot more ideas.

It was good to go to Emmaus Europe to pick the brains of other communities.

One great thing I enjoyed was when I was talking to staff and trustees from other communities, and hearing how they run things. One Emmaus member of staff from the Netherlands even asked me to visit to tell my story.

I was staying in a room with a guy from Emmaus Hampshire. The area was nice, seeing the street cafes. It’s not every day you go outside in a street surrounded by umbrellas. I enjoyed going somewhere different and hearing from different people.

There’s more to Emmaus Preston

I want to let more people know about Emmaus Preston. Everyone knows we work in a furniture shop, but they don’t hear what we do after that. It could be solidarity with others within the community by playing games or having food together. I want people to hear there’s that side of the community as well.


Emmaus Preston is giving away a chest freezer that’s full of food in solidarity with families in need in Preston. To nominate someone you know, enter their details into the freezer giveaway here.

Rich brought back a drive to help others in Preston
A fresh perspective from Emmaus communities around the world
Looking at how Emmaus supports local communities across the globe