Emmaus South Wales
For the latest update please scroll to the bottom
One of the homeless projects supported by Bridgend Quakers is Emmaus, the charity
that promises “to provide a bed and a reason to get out of it”.
Started in France in 1946 by the Abbé Pierre to provide homes and work for some of
the thousands of people displaced by the Second World War, Emmaus has become an international
movement. In the past 22 years 23 communities have been established in England and
1 in Scotland. A group of people committed to establishing the first Emmaus community
in Wales, in Bridgend, meet regularly at the Quaker meeting house and several local
Friends are actively involved.
So how does an Emmaus community work?
A group of about twenty formerly homeless people live together in a mutually supportive
community. Support is provided by a paid full-time, live in community leader and
volunteer helpers. The residents, or companions as they are known, each have an en-suite
room and live and work together as a community. Any problems of addiction must be
addressed and drugs and alcohol are not allowed on the premises.
Companions are required to come off benefits (except Housing Benefit) and work a
40 hour week in projects which help to fund the community. Traditionally the work
has been primarily in restoring and selling donated second hand furniture. They may
also work in the charity shops that most Emmaus communities set up to provide funds
to enable the community to be self supporting and in most cases to raise additional
money to help other Emmaus communities to be established.
Most companions move on to more independent living after 6 to 9 months but some make
a long-term home with Emmaus. Some companions have moved on to become community leaders
themselves. The Emmaus way has a proven track record in helping individuals whose
lives have fallen apart to regain confidence and self esteem and return to living
For more information and up to date news of what is happening locally see www.emmaussouthwales.org.uk
Update April 2013
Emmaus South Wales raised over £4,000 at the Sleep Out in Porthcawl.
Deana spent a warm night thanks to many layers of cardboard underneath, but not much
actual sleep was had. The night revellers had just about gone away and we were settling
down when the vegetable shop sellers arrived to collect boxes, yes we should have
known better than to sleep in front of a greengrocers. They eventually left and we
began to settle down, then it was the turn of Greggs the bakers to start preparing
the shop for their day. We settled down warm and quiet ready to sleep, but now it
was time for breakfast. I now know why the homeless are sometimes reluctant to get
out of their sleeping bags for the Wallich breakfast.
Deana raised over £150 for Emmaus, thanks to everyone who sponsored me.