Homelessness Suffolk Jul 2016

Terry Waite Opens Emmaus Ipswich’s Social Enterprise

Emmaus UK President Terry Waite formally opened Emmaus Ipswich’s social enterprise this weekend, marking the completion of the first phase of establishing a new community in the area.

There are currently 28 Emmaus communities spread across the UK, supporting more than 700 formerly homeless people. Emmaus communities offer a home for as long as someone needs it. Emmaus companions get a room of their own, food, clothing and a small weekly allowance. In return, they ask:

  • That companions work for 40 hours per week, or give as much time as they are able, in the community’s social enterprise.
  • That they behave in a respectful way towards one another.
  • That no alcohol or illegal drugs are used on the premises.
  • That they sign off all benefits, with the exception of housing benefit.

The need

Social enterprise is central to creating communities that are self-sustaining and able to thrive independently. Not only is this important for business but it offers companions (former homeless people) meaningful work that helps to re-build self-esteem, which is often lost when someone experiences homelessness.


“As this is our first retail premises in Ipswich, it will be a huge visual asset for clients and customers to easily identify the building. Because community involvement is key to our business model, improving the building will be seen as a positive addition to the local environment and will help integrate Emmaus Ipswich into the local area.”

Claire Staddon

Support Worker for Emmaus Ipswich

The solution

Opening the social enterprise is the first step in Emmaus Ipswich’s five year plan to establish a full community – including accommodation – in the town. In the meantime Emmaus is working with Ipswich Locality Homelessness Partnership to provide work and volunteering opportunities for ‘Non-resident Companions.’

How patrons helped

CRASH Patrons Arcadis, Bauder and Dulux Trade provided professional advice free of charge. Dulux Trade also donated paint in ‘Emmaus Green’ and CRASH supporter Altro donated flooring. CRASH awarded the project a cash grant of £6,880 bringing the total value of support so far to £9,615.

The social impact

Although living in a community isn’t for everyone, it can offer the companionship and support that many people who have experienced homelessness have lost. This can be key to helping someone to stop, take stock, and start to regain a sense of control and stability in their lives. The social enterprise will help Emmaus to achieve this.

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