Greater Manchester Homelessness May 2015

Terry Waite Officially Opens Emmaus Salford

Emmaus UK’s President Terry Waite officially opened the new community in Salford this week. Accompanied by chair of the Emmaus Salford’s Trustees Valerie Burgoyne, Terry Waite met with some of the volunteers from CRASH patron companies including Network Rail who were instrumental in the creation of the community’s social enterprise and accommodation.

The need

Although this was the official launch, Emmaus Salford welcomed its first resident a few months ago. 53 year old Harry Dixon had been travelling to Salford from Burnley on the bus five times a week to work alongside volunteers from Network Rail, helping to clean, decorate and maintain the former council property.

His passion for the blossoming Salford community springs from the fact that he was brought up in the local area, and has always been keen to return. A tough childhood saw Harry homeless and on the move from a young age, spending time in care homes before travelling to London, where he worked as a banqueting porter for several years. After returning north Harry spent time with his dad learning the tricks of the decorating trade, which he has put to good use at Emmaus Salford.

The solution

The team of Network Rail volunteers got to work on the renovations of the near derelict former council office building.

Fran Frost, project manager for Emmaus Salford, said: “I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful we are to Network Rail, its subcontractors and suppliers. We have gained their time, their expertise, their good will and hard work with such a wide range of tasks. If we had paid someone to do this, I am sure it would have taken someone a year of full time work, not to mention the materials and the tools that they have contributed.

How patrons helped

Over 1400 hours of dedicated effort from the team of Network Rail volunteers saved Emmaus Salford an estimated £60,000.

“Managing this number of people was daunting at first, but with careful planning we made sure that each group was set a specific task, so they knew what had to be achieved. Network Rail has been incredible, making sure that health and safety was up to scratch and that first aiders were on site on each of the volunteer days.

The social impact

Knowing that my skills will help someone who has slept out on the streets have a place to live that is warm, dry and comfortable and help give them the opportunity to turn their life around, was amazing. For me, it is more about giving people their dignity starting again, as opposed to hand-outs. I’ll definitely be volunteering again and I’ll be popping in to the community’s shops too

Dave Steele

Volunteer and Network Rail charity organiser

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