Homelessness North Bedfordshire Jul 2016

Bistro is Back in Business at Emmaus

The Bistro is back in business at Emmaus Village Carlton thanks to a generous grant from CRASH. Run by Companions (as formerly homeless people are known) the Bistro is at the heart of Emmaus’ social enterprise and is a cherished resource for the wider Bedfordshire community.

At Emmaus, homeless people find a place where they can enjoy companionship and support. All Companions (residents) work full-time at the onsite Shops and Bistro providing a commercial setting where skills can be learnt in a friendly atmosphere.

CRASH has been working with Emmaus Village Carlton, Bedfordshire for many years on various schemes such as The Dovecote Project. This was an innovative development which created six additional bed spaces along with a refurbished Shopping Mall experience and History of Emmaus Learning Zone.

The need

Emmaus Village Carlton approached CRASH for support to adapt existing spaces within the Bistro with a view to providing a better layout for visitors, volunteers and Companions.

The solution

The relocation of existing and new equipment in the kitchen has created a better training facility for Companions, as has the layout of the repositioned counter area.

The new seating layout allows customers to be accommodated in three different ways, formal dining within the conservatory area, relaxed seating within the central library area, and group seating around large tables in the community area – all beneficial to the different groups of people who use the Bistro.

The social impact

The old building was so cold we had to work in our coats, gloves and hats. The customers would pick up on how cold it was and wouldn’t stay for any length of time to look around, which was bad for business. The new furniture shop is so important to us all. It will also give us much more space to display all the wonderful furniture we get donated by our loyal customers, and no more leaky roof!”

Companion at Emmaus

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