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Emmaus Dover

RWBro John Bonomy and VWBro Peter Brooshooft who were both delighted with what they were shown. Attendees enjoyed light buffet-style refreshments, including home-made cake.

Inside the workshop

The Emmaus Charity

The Emmaus Charity in the UK began with a Cambridge Businessman, Selwyn Image, who volunteered at a soup and sandwich shelter in the city, he was keen to find out what he could do to help the people who were using the shelter.
In a conversation with a homeless man, every idea that Selwyn came up with in an attempt to help, was shot down, he became increasingly frustrated and eventually asked “Well, what do you want?”, the homeless man responded, “I would have thought that would have been obvious to an intelligent man like you, I want somewhere where I can work, where I feel I belong, and where I can recover my self-respect” and so Emmaus in the UK was born and the Mission Statement of the Charity “To work together to overcome homelessness and social exclusion while using our voice to achieve social change” is what we strive to do everyday.
From the first community established in 1991, there are now 28 communities spread across the whole of the UK, with a further 5 groups working to establish additional communities, there are more than 850 companions living in these communities stretching from Glasgow to Dover. Each one has at least one shop or social enterprise such as Cafes, Shops, Gardening Projects, and Removal Companies giving much needed employment opportunities to the companions.
The Emmaus Charity was awarded a grant of £70,000 in January 2021 in response to an application from RCG 8 (the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Surrey and Sussex) as part of the Freemasons COVID-19 Community Fund. This was towards their work in Hastings & Rother, Brighton & Hove, Surrey, Medway and Dover.
A further application was received by the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity for assistance in the creation of a new furniture workshop and refurbishment of the warehouse in Dover. The CEKFC supported the project with an additional grant of £2,000 They’ve been working to update and expand the facilities at the Archcliffe Fort site since 2019, with fundraising for the latest update taking 18 months. Following a successful fundraising project, work commenced on the workshop and warehouse in January 2021 and was completed in the summer of 2021.

On 13 October 2021, Emmaus Dover celebrated the official opening of their brand-new furniture workshop and refurbished warehouse, with more than 90 special guests in attendance including Emmaus Dover companions, staff, trustees, volunteers, customers, supporters, donors and friends. for a tour, speeches and lunch, including RWBro John Bonomy and VWBro Peter Brooshooft who were both delighted with what they were shown. Attendees enjoyed light buffet-style refreshments, including home-made cake.

The new furniture workshop will be used by companions to repair and upcycle furniture donations, to sell in their shop. The refurbished warehouse facility will provide more storage and will bring all their recycling activities under one roof, including a PAT testing room and textile recycling facilities.

Now the update is complete, Emmaus will provide their Dover companions with training for furniture refurbishment.

Lawrence, one of the companions, said: “A lot of work has been done on the new workshop and warehouse over the last few months, and now that it’s finished it will make a brilliant difference to our work – it’ll be a warmer and nicer place to work in, plus we now have more much needed storage. During the official launch, I was really happy to give a short speech, and we showed some of the visitors around the new warehouse and workshop, so they could see how they’ll be used.”

Andrew Eberlein, Chair of Trustees at Emmaus Dover gave a short speech about the “Building a Better Future project”, and Richard Oldfield, OBE DL officially opened the new workshop.

After the official opening Andrew Ebelein Chair of Emmaus Dover said “We are so grateful to the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity for helping to support Phase One of our ‘Building a Better Future Project’. The new furniture workshop will enable our previously homeless Companions to learn how to repair, upscale and refurbish donated furniture that can be sold in our shop. Emmaus Dover is committed to helping to find ways to overcome long term homelessness by providing accommodation, support and meaningful work opportunities for as long as someone needs it. Giving them the time, space and support they need to take stock of their lives and make positive changes for the future”

Karen Gambrell, Fundraising Manager at Emmaus Dover said: “Our Building a Better Future Project aims to secure the long-term future and sustainability of Emmaus Dover. The development of our site will create more opportunities for our companions, increase revenue, provide new income streams and a historical place of interest for the people living, working and visiting Dover each year. We can’t wait to enjoy all the great things to come out of our new furniture workshop”.