On February 1, local homelessness charity, Emmaus Norwich
, will set up a living room and bedroom on the Haymarket to mark 60 years since the Emmaus founder, Abbé Pierre,
took to the airwaves of Radio Luxembourg
and appealed to the people of France to do something to help those sleeping rough on the streets of Paris.
His powerful request on behalf of ‘the voiceless people’ brought in donations of more than 500 million francs, as well as blankets, stoves, and other items that were collected all over the country.
This event in Paris in 1954, and the outpouring of support from the French public became known as the ‘uprising of kindness’ and led to the formation of the international Emmaus
On February 1, Emmaus Norwich will be one of hundreds of Emmaus communities across the globe calling for a similar ‘uprising of kindness’ to commemorate that moment. The community will be using their event to ask people from across the city to commit to an act of kindness, helping those in greater need than themselves.
explained: “Six decades ago Abbe Pierre looked around him and saw people sleeping outside, people without a voice, who needed him to speak out on their behalf. Emmaus is still doing that today.
“Three months ago I was one of those people, but Emmaus has given me a home and work to do. We look around today, and see the same problems in our own country. We are asking people for their support, both for the Emmaus movement, and for other charities helping those who are socially disadvantaged. Even if people just take the time to stop and talk to us, to find out a bit more about what we do, that would be great, but if they could bring a tin or packet of food, we will pass that to local food banks, or perhaps they might bring warm clothes or sleeping bags for local night shelters.”
The event will also be used to draw attention to the imminent release of rough sleeping figures for 2013, which are expected to show another rise in homelessness. St Martins Rough Sleeping Team
report, 68 people verified as sleeping rough in Norwich in the 12 months to March 2013.
Emmaus Norwich project director, Ronagh Witthames
, said: “Our staff and companions - our formerly homeless residents - will be in the Haymarket from 10am – 4pm with presentations and information about Emmaus around the world and other local charities. You can also support us by making a pledge on the day, on our facebook page Emmaus-Norwich or on twitter #emmausnorwich
Emmaus Norwich needs volunteers and trustees, click here to find out more
Pictured above is Emmaus companion Martin.