Emmaus Hastings & Rother was formed in 2005 with the help and support of Emmaus Brighton & Hove. The community opened the doors of their superstore in October 2009 and 18 months later welcomed their first Companion (as formerly homeless people are known).
Following an expansion in 2014 Emmaus Hastings & Rother is currently home to 22 Companions who work full-time (37.5 hours per week) in the community’s superstore either on the tills and the shop floor, in the stockrooms or wood and electrical workshops, in the Café, or on the van, collecting and delivering goods.
CRASH has supported Emmaus Hastings & Rother with various projects, the latest being to help with their heating system. The hot air system in the Community’s Superstore had ceased working and the heaters in the Workshop and adjoining Offices were inadequate at best.
CRASH called upon Patron company Cundall to undertake a survey of both areas and their systems and identify options.
Following the survey, it was decided that the retail area would be best served by a refrigerant heat pump type of system, with local radiant heating systems to serve the workshops this maximising the floor area and limit the risk of damage to displayed items.
Cundall got in contact with industrial and commercial developer and manufacturer Nortek who supplied five ambient heaters for the workshop and adjoining offices – two completely free of charge and others at a significantly discounted rate.
To address the issues in the Superstore, Cundall brought in Daikin UK, a market leader in environmentally responsible renewable energy heat pumps, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Daikin supplied all equipment and materials and approved contractor Aspen undertook the installation all completely free of charge.
Thanks to the generosity of Cundall, their supply chain and of Lucion, who undertook an asbestos survey at cost, Emmaus Hastings & Rother is not only warm and dry they have also saved £5,952 through free professional expertise and free and discounted materials bringing the total value of CRASH’s support – including a cash grant of £5,000 – to £10,952.
Emmaus Hastings & Rother Community Manager Zach Hurst said:
“The support we have had from CRASH has been fantastic. We now have a heating system in place which would have otherwise been way out of our reach financially and just in time for the change in weather. It has made an enormous difference to the community and we are so grateful to CRASH, Cundall, Daikin, Nortek, Aspen and Lucion for their generosity of time, money and materials.”
One Companion who will benefit from a warmer working environment is former soldier Peter.
“I spent 24 years in the Army, travelling around the world with my family and on various tours of active duty. I went to Bosnia, Croatia, Northern Ireland and Iraq as part of Desert Storm. The changing scenery suited me and I enjoyed the hard work and dedication of my fellow infantrymen,” he explains.
“When I came out I got a job in a hotel, and I went at it with the same vigour that I had applied to being a soldier. I was the duty manager, and in order for the business to do well, I felt that I needed to be there. I worked from six in the morning until the small hours of the night. It was a Catch 22, I was working hard to make money for my family, but I was never there to enjoy the time with them. My wife was disappointed that she still wasn’t seeing me, after all the years I’d been away in other countries. She found someone else, and I decided I had to leave.
“My Army mentality told me just to knuckle down and get on with it, I knew how to look after myself, I didn’t need anything more than a bivvy bag to sleep in. I didn’t want my problems to become my children’s problems; I felt they were better off without me.
“It was purely by chance that I found my way to Emmaus. It sounds like the punch-line to a joke when I say I met a monk at a bus-stop, but I did, and he became one of my closest friends. On his recommendation I went to Emmaus Village Carlton and ended up staying for eight years. Then in December 2012, I went to Leicestershire & Rutland, and recently I came to Hastings. I’ve worked on the vans, in the shop, in the house, and I think it’s great.
“My children are grown up now, and all three of them have followed my footsteps into the Forces. I feel glad that they are all happy and grounded people, and now I have also found somewhere to settle. I enjoy the feeling of teamwork at Emmaus, it’s like being back in the Forces, and what we do here has given me a real feeling of pride and self-respect. I feel like a better person all round.”