The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

New Norfolk Emmaus is a step closer to reality

2011: A new South Norfolk-based branch of the Christian homelessness charity Emmaus is a step closer to opening with the appointment of a community leader and a lease about to be signed.

Charity trustee, Revd Simon Ward, chaplain to the Bishop of Norwich, said: “After a few quiet months for Emmaus Norwich we are poised ready to sign the lease in the next couple of weeks: at this point the former convent buildings at Ditchingham will become the home for Emmaus Norwich and we will be another step along our journey towards setting up a community for formerly homeless people.

“It’s an exciting time for Emmaus Norwich as we have our community leader, Paul Bain, in place and we hope the first few companions very soon.”

TerryWaiteFormer Archbishop's Envoy and Middle East hostage, Terry Waite (pictured right), who is President of Emmaus UK, and lives near Bury St Edmunds, helped to launch the plan when he addressed a crowd of several hundred people at Norwich Cathedral in April. He told them of plans to open a new Community in South Norfolk, with the help of the nuns at the All Hallows convent (pictured above) in Ditchingham, near Bungay, who are handing a large part of their historic convent and grounds over for use as the country’s 21st Emmaus Community.
“I support Emmaus fully because it does not patronise homeless people. Everyone who comes to an Emmaus Community must sign off unemployment benefits and work according to their capacity. Emmaus enables people to get back on their feet and regain their dignity as human beings,” he said.
Emmaus Norwich plans to replicate the success of existing communities like Cambridge Emmaus which collects, refurbishes and then sells donated household goods.
The new Community will give previously homeless people a place to live, meaningful employment and tailored support and training. The community aims to become a financially self sufficient community of 25 previously homeless people within five years. The companions (as they will be known) will live together in the currently disused buildings. The companions will run a variety of enterprises primarily based around recycling and selling donated furniture and household items.
Emmaus says that it offers a way out of the loneliness and rejection of living rough on the street. By living and working together, people can recover their self-respect, discovering how to take responsibility for their own lives, and help others less fortunate than themselves. Emmaus Companions use the surplus profits generated by their hard work to help others in need, for example, by supporting local night shelters or providing furniture for those who cannot afford to pay for it.

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