Unlike the traditional Emmaus model, at present we do not have residential accommodation, but we work with and encourage our non-residential companions to enter back into the workplace and to lead a more fulfilling life.
Emmaus Suffolk provides work opportunities and experience to those who have been unemployed for a long time and those that are homeless or at risk of being so. By offering volunteering roles within our (not for profit) business we want to give people the chance to make a difference for themselves, in a supportive environment through work related experience and training.
We opened our first charity shop located on the outskirts of Ipswich in 2016. We re-use and up-cycle donated furniture and household goods, offering low income families more choice of affordable goods whilst encouraging domestic recycling in the local community. Donations of furniture are collected or can be dropped off at the workshop. Each piece of furniture is evaluated and, if needed, improved, mended and then put into the shop for sale.
People who have been long term unemployed and or homeless can volunteer to participate at all levels of the business, including donation collection, sorting, repair, up-cycling to customer service and retail experience. Through providing occupation, people will gain experience, training & transferable skills and also self-respect and personal empowerment.
Our ambition is to introduce to Suffolk new ways of tackling entrenched homelessness and unemployment by enabling and empowering people to help themselves through meaningful activity that will benefit both themselves and others.
The negative impacts of long-term unemployment have been associated with deprivation, poor attainment and increased mental health issues. In Ipswich, 5,500 (5.7%) residents have never worked or are long-term unemployed, which is 29.1% of the total in Suffolk. (The state of Ipswich 2013).
During our first 2 years of trading we have supported over 100 people in work ready volunteering roles, whilst giving back to the community they live in. Each volunteer has their own development plan, enabling us to identify progression and future skills support required.