Emmaus Salford has scooped the John Thompson Award for Solidarity in recognition of the impact of Lucie’s Pantry social supermarket.

On Monday 18 March, Emmaus UK President Terry Waite CBE presented the award to Pat Ekins, Project Manager of Lucie’s Pantry. The award presentation was made at the annual Emmaus Assembly, a two-day conference for Emmaus community members from across the UK.

Emmaus Salford received the John Thompson award as a result of companions, staff, and volunteers setting up and operating the first pantry in Salford and the first run by an Emmaus community. Lucie’s Pantry now supports 150 households across Salford, helping more than 500 people to access affordable food and household essentials.

Pat Ekins, Project Manager at Lucie’s Pantry, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon that Emmaus Salford and Lucie’s Pantry has been recognised with this award. We work very hard to support vulnerable people in our area and it’s a real honour to receive this award in memory of John Thompson.”

The award was launched in 2008 in memory of former Emmaus UK Fundraising Manager John Thompson who passed away in 2007 and recognises an outstanding act of solidarity by an Emmaus community, judged by an Emmaus committee.

Lucie’s Pantry provides a sustainable and affordable source of food and household essentials to members of the Salford community struggling to make ends meet through debt, illness or low income. People who want to use the social supermarket become members of Lucie’s Pantry, paying £2.50 per week to choose items to the value of approximately £15.

Simon Locke, Community Director at Emmaus Salford, said: “Along with establishing the Emmaus Salford community, helping to start Lucie’s Pantry is probably one of my proudest moments. For me it’s a clear example of Abbé Pierre’s ethos of tackling hopelessness.

“I’d like to give huge thanks to the companions, staff, volunteers and partners that have helped to make Lucie’s Pantry this service it is today – formerly homeless people helping homed families and individuals to stop them from becoming homeless.”

Emmaus Salford supports formerly homeless people by providing them with a home and work in a community setting. The charity is one of 29 Emmaus communities across the country supporting more than 800 companions across the UK by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem to help rebuild their lives.

Previous winners of the John Thompson Award for Solidarity include Emmaus Colchester, Emmaus Gloucestershire, Emmaus Coventry and Warwickshire, Emmaus Cambridge, Emmaus Preston, Emmaus Brighton & Hove, and Emmaus Hertfordshire.

The concept of solidarity, helping others less fortunate than yourself, is a central ethos of Emmaus and a motivation for the Emmaus Salford community to set up Lucie’s Pantry.

Taking part in acts of solidarity can be very valuable for Emmaus community members as it is often key to helping to rebuild self-esteem, proving that everyone has the capacity to make a difference to the lives of others.

To find out more or support Emmaus Salford head to www.emmaus.org.uk/salford. If you would like to get involved or donate an item, please call 0161 848 7250 or visit the Emmaus Salford Community Homestore, Emporium or Seaford Road shop.