Emmaus Suffolk belongs to a world movement of Emmaus communities, spread across the globe, from Argentina and Guatemala to Bangladesh. Emmaus is a solidarity-based movement, acting against poverty and exclusion.
There are currently 29 Emmaus communities across the UK, helping more than 800 “companions”, the name we sometimes give to the people we offer support to.
Emmaus Suffolk is different to the other Emmaus communities in the UK. Our friends at Emmaus communities around the UK all work with live-in companions, most of whom have experienced homelessness or insecure housing. They live at the community, with all living costs covered by the charity and meals provided in a communal dining area, and companions volunteer full-time within the charity’s social enterprises.
We work differently, offering a service which compliments that of the other Emmaus communities in the UK. We provide front line services to those people facing the prospect of homelessness to try to prevent it happening, while also supported those who are experiencing social exclusion or long-term unemployment.
Our ambition is to introduce new ways of tackling entrenched homelessness, isolation and unemployment, and we do this by enabling and empowering people to help themselves through meaningful activity that will benefit both themselves and others.
The Emmaus Suffolk support team run regular workshops and drop-in sessions at our hubs in Ipswich and Felixstowe where those who would otherwise be isolated or excluded can come and enjoy the company of others in a relaxed environment. Those who want to are invited to volunteer in our shops, helping them gain some hands-on work experience, and put something back into the community. Experience shows us that being an active member of the community leads to a more fulfilling life, boosts confidence levels and alleviates many of the issues around loneliness and exclusion.
We also manage our Community House, a shared house for up to three people at a time. This house gives those living in it the opportunity to live independently, to manage their own budgets, food shopping, cooking etc, but with the support of our team if they need it. The companions living in this house volunteer for up to 15 hours a week in our shops, giving them the hands on work experience that’s needed to get them back into paid employment.