Emmaus Medway – helping to get lives back on track
Emmaus Medway is a local charity that provides a stable place to live, a sense of purpose and tailored support for people who’ve been sleeping rough or sofa surfing. Since 2012 we’ve helped over 400 local people get their lives back on track.
When someone joins Emmaus Medway, they become a ‘companion’. We have space at our community in Chatham for 24 companions, men and women, from 18 to 65. We’re not a hostel or a night shelter though, people can stay with us for as short or long a period of time as they need. The community provides a safe environment in which to examine their choices, address issues such as addiction, mental health challenges or broken relationships, and get back on their feet. Some stay with us for a short period, while others need time to re-adjust or learn new skills before moving on. As far as we’re concerned, both outcomes constitute a success.
One of the biggest obstacles many companions face is a loss of self-esteem. One way we help them with this is by providing meaningful daily activity, either in the community or in our shop on Chatham High Street, where we sell pre-loved furniture that has been kindly donated to us. A lot of companions who’ve been with us a while have told us that having something to do every day is the best part of the experience. Here’s what one companion had to say about this recently…
“When I came to live with Emmaus Medway I’d been sleeping rough. As soon as I arrived, I was straight into it; I’d never worked in retail before, but I loved working with the other companions, interacting with the customers, and before long I had regained a lot of my lost confidence. I am now able to lead on all aspects of the activity at the social enterprise”
The shop generates income to keep the community going. Without it we couldn’t provide the support we do now, for example, counselling for anyone who wants it, access to healthy food, and free broadband.
2020 has been a tough year for everyone, and as the eviction ban ends and unemployment rises, more and more people will be at risk of homelessness. It’s Emmaus Medway’s mission to make sure that at least some of them have a somewhere to stay, a sense of purpose, and the support they need to get through it.
e Emmaus Medway’s Chatham shop can be found at 243 High Street, ME4 4BQ.
To donate furniture visit www.emmaus.org.uk/medway/donate goods