Emmaus Communities are a unique way of dealing with homelessness

6 Jun 2019 08:52
Published by: Kian French

It is a sad, but true fact that homelessness in the UK is on the increase.... and no one really knows how many people are living rough on our streets. In London, Broadway - a homeless charity, counted 6437 people living rough on the streets of our capital on just one night! Multiply this across our cities and towns and one soon realises homelessness is a real and significant problem.

Emmaus Communities enable homeless people to make a new life and move on. An Emmaus Community is not a hostel or night shelter; It does not just provide a bed for a night or two - it provides a home, a family within our community and work for as long as an individual needs, to rebuild their life and return to 'normal living'. People who come to live in the community are not residents - they are Companions.

All we ask is;

  • that companions work for 40 hours per week, or give as much time as they are able, in the community's social enterprise;
  • that they behave in a respectful way towards one another;
  • that no alcohol or illegal drugs are used on the premises;
  • that they sign off all mainstream benefits;

In return, companions get a room of their own, food, clothes, a small weekly allowance and the opportunity to rebuild their confidence, self worth and learn new skills in a dignified manner and in a non judgmental environment that respects people for who they are and not what they have been.

Social enterprise is central to Emmaus Communities, it provides meaningful work for companions and also generates an income that allows us to be self-sustaining and not dependant on hand-outs or the state. The main business activity for Emmaus communities is the recycling of donated furniture and household goods and selling them in our shops. Some items are refurbished or, in the case of electrical items, PAT tested for safety. Our enterprise ensures that 1000's of tons of unwanted items are not buried as landfill.

A major aspect of the ethos of Emmaus Communities is the concept of Solidarity. The perception of people who are homeless is that they are a drain on society, but the residents of Emmaus Communities turn this perception on its head. Not only do they work to support themselves, but they also work to help others.

Solidarity takes many forms within Emmaus Communities; sometimes surplus income generated from the business of the Community goes towards starting new Emmaus Communities, sometimes it is donated to other local charities or to disaster appeals.

The concept of Solidarity and the ethos of Emmaus is perhaps best embodied in the words “Serve first those who suffer most".

Please come and visit our community soon, We have a number of shops, selling all sorts of household items, furniture, electricals, music, clothes, books, collectables and we have a fantastic café that serves freshly made food, homemade soups, homemade cakes, scones, and drinks.


We have extended our small plant sales area and created a fantastic new garden centre.

As well as our incredibly popular hanging baskets, we have dozens of varieties of plants and shrubs – all grown on site in our greenhouses or poly-tunnel. Baskets, troughs and planters can be planted to order.

We also have a range of planters, benches, tables, and trellis – all at amazing prices - made in our own woodwork shop.

After you have had a wander, stop for a tea and a cake in our café.

Emmaus Bolton – Derby Barracks – Fletcher Street – Bolton – BL36NF – 01204 398056

You may be interested in