Emmaus is an international charity helping homeless people, and near where I live they have an Emmaus village. The village is in Carlton, Bedfordshire on the site of the old St Margaret's School and hosts a coffee shop and numerous second hand stores selling books, furniture, toys, crockery and clothing. We go there every once in a while, and yesterday we decided to go because I was looking for TV unit as my old one was looking a little tatty, due to small cars being banged into it. Well I didn't find a suitable TV unit for my front room although there was a good selection but none caught my eye. However I did discover amongst the large selection of glassware and crockery some beautiful pieces which I had to purchase including a glass trifle bowl for £2. I also found a tajine for £5, they normally retail at around £30 and it was like new, what a bargain. There is a lovely little coffee shop selling all manner of very tasty looking food, from snacks like jacket potatoes, sandwiches and teacakes to full meals and cakes, the cakes were divine and cost between £1.50 and £2.40.
The village is fantastic and houses former homeless people and employs them in the village, they are referred to as companions and they assist in restoring some of the furniture that comes in, each piece that has been renovated has a label attached to inform the buyer, they look excellent.They also assist by working in the shops, cafe and warehouse.
The companions are supported in their wish to exit life on the streets and they are provided with food, accommodation and a job, they have to agree to abide by the village rules and these include no drugs or alcohol. They are given a small wage for their work and are then able to come off unemployment benefits, it's such a positive place, and the companions are friendly and helpful. There are also a number of volunteer that also help out here and they are also extremely friendly, engaging with my children and myself.
Not only does Emmaus support the people living in the village and help others to overcome homelessness they also donate any additional funds to help other organisations which is amazing, it give the companions a sense of worth and pride which many may have had lost through living on the streets. Whilst we were there we saw that they had organised a Halloween scavenger hunt, a tent had been set up and pumpkins decorated the outside. However, we were unable to stay for this, which was a shame.
There are so many villages all over the UK, all offering similar services to both the companions and the local community.
You can donate goods to be sold by contacting your local shop, they will collect free of charge if you are not a great distance or you can take it to the shop yourself. They are unable to accept gas bottles or gas appliances, very heavy items for example pianos, baby items like prams or high chairs, photocopiers or paraffin, petrol, paint or other inflammables. If you're not sure your local shop will be able to help, you can find their contact details online at www.emmaus.org.uk. Any furniture donated needs to meet the 1988 fire and furnishings regulations, and be in a saleable condition, meaning they should not be extensively soiled or damaged and need to also be in good working order. Some shops even accept scrap metal which is unusual. If you wish to donate funds this can be done online through their site or by sending a cheque payable to "Emmaus UK" to 76-78 Newmarket Road, Cambridge, CB5 8DZ.
You can contact Emmaus through their site www.emmaus.org.uk or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
By phone to 01223 576103
By fax to 01223 362082
By post to: 76 - 78 Newmarket Road, Cambridge CB5 8DZ
If you go on their site you can read lots of success stories that can really inspire you and you re realise how important this charity is. We all take home for granted, shouldn't everyone be able too. Shelter, food and clothing along with health are the primary necessities and rights of any person and this charity endeavours to provide this giving someone back their hope and pride what bigger gift.
The charity was started in 1949 in France by Abbé Pierre, who was a priest; he wanted to help people who were homeless. Homelessness was high in France at this time as post war conditions still existed, and the charity has expanded internationally since.
Overall I love my local Emmaus Village it gives me the opportunity to purchase goods cheaply saving me money and I also get the satisfaction to know that I'm helping people. It's a great charity that needs more recognition for all the great things it does.
Emmaus is a charity, which has shops all over France, as well as 37 other countries including the U.K. It was founded in 1953, although the idea stemmed from post war problems in 1949, and the idea was to create aid for those people who could not afford housing, and to attempt to give some kind of dignity to those people that lived in the streets.
Today, Emmaus is going from strength to strength, and provides a great deal of choice to customers in their shops, which are very similar to other charity shops, although the mainstay of French charity shops.
The founder of Emmaus, Abbe Pierre, died this year, and the Nation mourned him, remembering the work that he had done in educating people in the field of homelessness and its causes, and of devoting his life to those less fortunate than himself. Such is the message here in France that people give anything that they find surplus to requirements to Emmaus in an effort to help. There is no payment involved, and every donation is displayed in their shops.
Emmaus offers furniture at prices that people can afford, electrical goods, household items, and a huge range of books, records, and clothing. The constant flow and turnover of the shops is amazing, and on a week to week basis, one can find so many different items of usefulness, whilst also adding to the money which is used towards homelessness issues.
Items that can be found and typical prices :
Shoes in almost new condition from 3.00 GBP
Sweaters and separates : From 1.00 GBP
Suits and ensembles: From 5.00 GBP
Articles for the home:
Vacuum cleaners for as little as 5 GBP
Televisions from as little as 10 GBP
Doors (both internal and external) from 10 GBP
Bathroom equipment as cheaply as 2.00 GBP for a sink.
There are many treasures to be found in the many Emmaus shops. The atmosphere of the shops is a thriving one, with enthusiastic staff, and my experience of the shops is that they offer people a chance to buy items at reduced prices and have wonderful choice.
Split into separate shops for larger household items and clothing, I frequent the clothing shops more often than the household ones, and find that the arrangement of the clothing is well organised, colour coded, and cared for. It is all washed and sorted before being put into the shop, although I do wash mine before using, since storage does tend to make clothing smell stale. The value for money in these shops always amazes me, and the quality of the goods that can be found amongst the strange mixture of modern and old never fails to turn up some treasure. I particularly like the section that sells material, since material is very expensive in France, and here is ideal for those who, like me, want to find patchwork materials.
I admire this charity shop. I admire its cause, and its growth, and said a prayer for the founder and was saddened that the world lost such a humanitarian man, although he lived to a ripe old age, and was able to witness the good that his work did. If you pass by a shop with the name Emmaus, think of the homeless, take a peek behind the doors, and bag yourself a bargain, not only enriching your own life, but enriching the life of someone less fortunate than yourself. It is certainly worth a visit.