Yesterday I visited Emmaus Bristol and not only did I have the pleasure of finding out more about the amazing community, I also got to wear this wonderful hi-vis jacket!
What is Emmaus?
Emmaus began in France after WW2, founded by Abbé Pierre who fought to provide homes for people who lived on the streets of Paris. You can find out more here: https://www.emmaus.org.uk/history
Emmaus then came to the UK in 1991 and now today there are 29 communities across the UK with more than 750 Emmaus companions who were previously homeless people. Each community has a shop or social enterprise which could include a café, a shop, gardening projects or removals company where the companions work.
Emmaus – working together to end homelessness
Homelessness in Bristol
According to statistics from Homeless Link, the number of homeless people in Bristol has risen by a massive 128% over the last three years. Homelessness doesn’t just include people you actually see sleeping rough, there are many people ‘sofa-surfing’ and staying with friends.
It is really important to think about the huge variety of reasons behind why people can become homeless; from relationship or family issues, losing a job, having house rent or mortgage payment issues, poor physical or mental health, problems with drugs or alcohol, issues with housing benefits, along with situations including having been in care, in the armed forces or in prison.
You can find out more here: https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/homelessness-knowledge-hub/
Emmaus Bristol provides a home and work for 24 previously homeless people. I got to visit their workshop where the amazing community repair and upcycle unwanted or donated goods and furniture. This incredible social enterprise not only gives the companions opportunities to use their skills and learn new ones, it also stops many broken and unwanted items going to landfill as the furniture is collected by Emmaus Bristol through house clearances.
You can find out more about companions David and Mikey and their experience with Emmaus Bristol by clicking here to watch their videos: http://www.emmausbristol.org.uk/about-us/
There are several Emmaus shops in Bristol including Bedminster, Stokes Croft, a pop-up shop in Kingswood and a new shop on Gloucester Road called Emmaus Vintage.
At the Stokes Croft store, you can get your hands on some wonderful upcycled clothing by Kecks. Find out more about Kecks here: https://kecksonline.wordpress.com/
Emmaus Vintage on Gloucester road is home to some of the brilliant furniture given a new lease of life by the companions including this lovely upholstered stool.
You can also find extremely clever use of repurposing furniture at Emmaus Vintage where a fantastic display shelving unit has been created from various pieces.
It was brilliant to see clothes and books displayed on repurposed ladders and units.
Plus I found all these other donated delights which you can buy, including vinyl records and cute teacups!
What can you do to support Emmaus Bristol?
- You can donate your items to their shops.
- You can buy some lovely things from their shops in Bristol.
- You can organise a house clearance. Click here for more info: http://www.emmausbristol.org.uk/buy-from-us/house-clearances/
- You can make a financial donation. Click here for more info: http://www.emmausbristol.org.uk/support-us/donate-money/
- You can volunteer. Click here for more info: http://www.emmausbristol.org.uk/support-us/volunteer/
- You can fundraise for Emmaus Bristol.
Make sure you like the Emmaus Bristol Facebook page to keep up to date with upcoming events and volunteering opportunities.
The Solidarity Sale is on 24th June 10am-2pm at Emmaus Bristol (BS2 8QJ) to raise funds for Emmaus International and North Bristol Community Project.