Gateway Kent Comments On Unique Charity In Rochester
Gateway Kent Comments On Unique Charity In Rochester helping out the homeless
- (1888PressRelease) March 02, 2012 - A unique charity, which provides homeless people with places to live, and tools to rebuild their lives, is set to open in Rochester. Originating in France, the charity 'Emmaus' has just 22 'communities' in the UK, but is preparing to launch in Medway to reach out to more people in need. "The charity is just amazing," said a source at Gateway Kent, "They do some fantastic work and it's exciting that they'll be doing it locally now."
Abbé Pierre, a politician and member of the French Resistance, launched the charity 63 years ago to fight homelessness and poverty among victims of the Second World War. It was unique at the time, in that it provided the people with a purpose, that of helping others, as well as food and shelter. Abbé Pierre, along with 18 homeless men, who called themselves companion, worked to build temporary homes for French mothers and children who had lost everything in the war. When the companions were asked to try and get donations they refused, and instead collected things that people no longer wanted and sold them on to raise money for the project, and Emmaus was born. Our Gateway Kent source said, "It's a very motivating and positive experience for the people benefiting from the charity. They're able to work and earn money and help themselves to improve their situation."
The charity arrived in Britain in 1990, having already spread across the globe, and has set up 22 "communities" already in the UK. In the coming months they are due to launch another in Rochester, offering a lifeline to homeless people in Medway.
The Dover community is located in a 14th century military fort on the white cliffs, and houses 21 people, working 40-hour weeks restoring donated furniture and other goods, which are sold locally. David Robinson, who arrived at the site as a companion three years ago, said that as soon as a homeless person arrives they have to come off benefits and start work. The community is also free from alcohol and drugs. Companions are paid per week with the charity keeping £5 every week in savings for each person so they have money when they leave, and Emmaus tries to get them on courses too, so they can achieve vocational qualifications.
Community co-ordinator at St Martin's Emmaus Maureen Gale admitted it had been a financial struggle recently. "It's hard sometimes, but then it is for a lot of charities at the moment," she said.
Our source at Gateway Kent was hopeful that the community would have a positive local impact, adding, "The more of these type of communities that can be started, the better."