CRASH Patrons Reflect on an eye opening visit to Emmaus Village Carlton

Emmaus Village Carlton (EVC) is a homelessness charity based in North Bedfordshire.  Emmaus provides a real workable alternative to homelessness, offering people a home, support and companionship, and meaningful work in their onsite social enterprises as a route out of homelessness for the residents – called Companions.

CRASH and our Patron Companies have worked with Emmaus Village Carlton for many years on a number of projects.  These projects have improved the site for residents and visitors and helped to develop the sustainability of the community.

Over the past two years, Bedford has experienced a surge in street homelessness.  Emmaus Village Carlton responded to this problem and applied to CRASH for help to make more of an old dormitory block on the site – Silverbirches.  The 2017 project created an additional 7 en-suite bedrooms for people who come to live and work in the community escaping homelessness – increasing the number of Companions EVC can support to 42. 

This not only increased opportunities for people who would otherwise be homeless to work and live in the community whilst they rebuild their lives, but supports the Recycling and Bistro social enterprises where Companions work, and which fund the charity.  Approximately 100,000 visitors each year come to EVC to buy recycled and reused household goods and furniture, use the Bistro, attend events and partake in sporting activities. 

CRASH Patrons have been instrumental in EVC’s development through CRASH donations, Professional Expertise and Materials over the years.  On the completion of Silverbirches we invited them to see this hugely positive community asset in action.  

ACO Technologies, AECOM, British Gypsum and Taylor Wimpey joined us on the visit and the difference CRASH Patron’s money, time and products makes to individuals, organisations and communities really hit home.  Nothing can tell that story better than these lovely words from Patrons who joined us on the day…    

I haven’t stopped talking about Emmaus Village since the visit and telling my colleagues, family and friends what a great project it is. For me personally it was a humbling experience and to work for a company like ACO that supports such amazing and life changing projects makes me very proud. I wasn’t aware of Emmaus Village Carlton before the visit so therefore I can’t emphasise enough the benefits of seeing first-hand the work that CRASH does and it really makes crawling through mud and eating meal worms […at a CRASH fundraising event!..] all worth it

Linda O’Sullivan ACO Technologies – Patron and Donation of Materials to EVC

Visiting a project to see how we’ve impacted the organisation as well as those in need has really opened my eyes to how valuable and important it is that we continue to provide our best efforts for such worthy causes.  The Emmaus Village Carlton was a real hub for the local community to meet over a coffee and cake and scour the warehouses for a bargain!  Seeing the individuals who have benefitted from the environment that Emmaus has given them is a real testament to the impact that British Gypsum providing some building materials can have.  Providing a warm, safe, comfortable and happy environment for them to thrive and move their lives forward is more than I was expecting from this visit.

Rachel Morris, British Gypsum part of St Gobain – Patron and Donation of Materials to EVC

My recent visit to Emmaus Village Carlton

VolkerFitzpatrick (Building Division) is a Patron of CRASH. As a company representative, I was invited to visit their Emmaus Village Carlton project, which they have recently refurbished to provide additional accommodation for homeless people.

I was not aware of what the Emmaus Charity do and the truly exceptional way they help the homeless. Providing a place to stay as well as introducing companions to meaningful work and training, preparing them for returning into society.

It is well worth a visit, if only to look at their Home Store with a wide range of departments selling recycled goods, or a visit to their Bistro for a coffee or a spot of lunch all run by the companions.

VolkerFitzpatrick was not involved with this particular project; however, since becoming a CRASH Patron in 2015 we have supported other CRASH charity projects with material donations and support.

By visiting the project, I could fully appreciate the positive impact that Patron donations and other contributions make.

I was surprised at how long it can take to deliver a finished project until I realised the many steps that charities need to go through in order to make it happen.

I now understand from my visit to this project that the CRASH Charity team become involved very early in the process and this is why expertise from CRASH Patrons is valuable from the outset. From providing advice and support such as feasibility studies, surveys, design, costing etc. As well as providing advice, project management support, material donations and undertaking physical site works at project stage.

I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend to all Patrons to go and visit a CRASH project and see the difference your support makes. I guarantee you’ll be impressed and it may inspire you the way it did me, as to how we can better provide help and support in the future.

Mark Smith, Preconstruction Director, VolkerFitzpatrick Ltd – Patron

CRASH is so proud of the support our Patrons give us to help homelessness and hospice charities.