Emmaus provides a home, work and a future for men and women who were previously homeless. They raise funds and teach new skills by collecting, repairing, renovating, and reselling donated goods including furniture
For 25 years, Emmaus Dover has been providing accommodation and meaningful work opportunities for men and women who have previously experienced homelessness. As well as workshops and services, including gardening, furniture restoration and upcycling, and house clearing, the charity also provides accommodation for up to 27 people.
Like many other homeless organisations, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge effect, and the charity has seen a rise in the need for accommodation while their income has been severely affected after their shops had to close in March. Emmaus’ three shops based in Dover, Ashford and Canterbury not only provide valuable work opportunities for their Companions (the name they use for people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion) but generate nearly 50% of their annual income. As well as their shops closing, many fundraising opportunities have been lost and the organisation approached Kent Community Foundation for financial help. Their applications were successful, and Kent Community Foundation awarded Emmaus Dover a total of £15,250 from the KCF Coronavirus Emergency Fund to help towards the income shortfall from the closure of their shops and the lack of fundraising opportunities.
The shop in Dover reopened on 15 June, and Canterbury and Ashford opened shortly afterwards, however the charity expects that it will take between 6-12 months before their income returns to pre COVID-19 levels.
Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said, “Kent Community Foundation has been supporting Emmaus Dover since 2015 and have to date awarded them grants totalling £42,500. During the pandemic we are delighted to have been able to help Emmaus as well as over 400 other good causes across Kent and Medway with grants from both our COVID-19 and KCF Coronavirus Emergency Funds.”
Debra Stevenson, Community Manager, Emmaus Dover, said, “Emmaus provides a home and meaningful work opportunities for up to 27 previously homeless men and women and rely on our three shops to provide over 50% of our annual income, so the financial impact of closing them for 11 weeks was devastating. Kent Community Foundation has provided funding for essential costs like food for our Companions, to help pay our gas and electricity bills and to fund one of our solidarity beds for 12 months. We are incredibly grateful to Kent Community Foundation for their continued support of Emmaus Dover throughout this difficult time”
Many people have been having a big clear-out during lockdown so Emmaus is asking people to please consider donating furniture to them rather than taking it to refuse sites and let their Companions upcycle, repair or renovate it to sell in their shops.
Debra continued, “Emmaus Dover is always very grateful for donations of good quality second-hand items, including furniture, white goods and household and garden items. We can collect and deliver larger items. Our shops in Dover, Ashford and Canterbury are open again but are operating on reduced hours and are only able to accept donations on Fridays. Please check our website for the latest information www.emmaus.org.uk/dover “
To find out more about Kent Community Foundation visit www.kentcf.org.uk