East Sussex Homelessness Nov 2021

A building to be proud of: the 5-year transformation of Emmaus Hastings & Rother.

This story is a culmination of five years’ worth of building repairs and improvements at Emmaus Hastings & Rother. It demonstrates how CRASH’s relationship with this charity has developed during this time, with many of our Corporate Patrons donating their professional expertise and construction products to support each project, some of which were planned and others which were in response to urgent issues.

Emmaus offers people the opportunity to gain stability in their lives and find a way to move on from homelessness. Emmaus Hastings & Rother is the UK’s 21st Emmaus community. It provides a home and meaningful work for 23 Companions, formerly homeless people, by giving them a home for as long as they need it.

Companions are provided with accommodation, food, clothing, and a weekly allowance. In return, they do not claim unemployment benefit and work full-time in the community Charity Superstore, collecting, renovating, and reselling donated goods. This work supports the community financially and enables companions to develop skills, discover new talents and rebuild their self-respect.

The need

Since 2016 CRASH and Emmaus Hastings & Rother have been working together on a programme of improvements to revamp their community site and Charity Superstore. The aim was to make it a more welcoming home and place of work for Companions and to create a more inviting shopping experience for customers.

The solution

The Superstore is the charity’s primary income source and is the place of work for the companions who live at Emmaus Hastings & Rother.

The first project CRASH supported was the remodeling and redecoration of the superstore interior. The floor covering was worn and stained, the ceiling tiles were damaged and discoloured, and the walls needed a fresh coat of paint. CRASH Corporate Patrons British Gypsum and Dulux Trade and our supporter Heckmondwike came together to donate materials to refurbish the ground and first floors with new carpet tiles, ceiling tiles and paint.

The Emmaus Companions assisted where possible, installing the ceiling and carpet tiles, painting the interior and re-organising the shop.

The second project identified an issue with the shop layout. Large furniture items, like beds, were displayed on the first floor, which took up a lot of space and meant that Companions working in the shop had to move the furniture as it was donated or sold. CRASH Corporate Patrons Hilti and Cundall and our supporter Lucion Environmental collaborated on the removal of an internal wall on the ground floor and relocation of the large furniture display. Now within easy reach of the roller shutters, the new area makes moving stock in and out, safer and less labour intensive. Fortunately, the work was completed before the first COVID-19 lockdown, and when the shop was able to reopen, the newly improved open-plan space could accommodate social distancing.

The next phase of work tackled the condensation on the windows which had been an issue for some time. The windows permanently looked cloudy because the seal to lots of the windows had failed. Not only was this uninviting for customers but made the space feel cold, not ideal for the Companions who work in the shop and eat their meals in the dining room on the first floor. CRASH provided a grant to replace the windows and install new radiators, which greatly improved the look and feel of the shop for customers and Companions.

Before & After:

With the Superstore interior looking great, attention turned to the exterior which also needed improvement to give an excellent first impression to customers and so Companions could feel proud to live and work there. After several delays due to COVID-19, CRASH Corporate Patron Hanson introduced us to WJ, who re-marked the car park lines free of charge, and Corporate Patron Dulux Trade provided specialist paint for the exterior façade of the shop.

Most recently, CRASH undertook urgent repairs to the leaking roof by uniting Corporate Patron’s Arcadis and Sunbelt Rentals as well as our supporter Welbro, to complete the repairs and avoid further damage.

How CRASH Corporate Patrons helped

CRASH Corporate Patrons Arcadis, British Gypsum, Cundall, Dulux Trade, Hanson, Hilti and Sunbelt Rentals all collaborated to transform Emmaus Hastings & Rother, delivering lasting social impact by improving the facilities and helping homeless men and women in East Sussex rebuild their lives. The total value of support was £73,171, made up of:

  • £28,095 worth of donated professional services and building products from CRASH Corporate Patrons and supporters.
  • £45,076 of grants awarded by CRASH, made possible through fundraising.

The social impact

“Thanks to CRASH, we already had a good year refurbishing the Superstore, kitchens and dining room – but the windows are the icing on the cake and complete the whole project. It was a distant fantasy to us but thanks to your incredible support over the years, we now have a building to be proud of. Companions and the public have made some really positive comments about the transformation, and the upgrade has had a tangible effect on sales.”

Zach Hurst

Manager at Emmaus Hastings & Rother

“A huge thank you to CRASH Patrons and supporters for all of your hard work at Emmaus Hastings & Rother. This is a great example of what can be achieved when the industry comes together through CRASH. Over the years, you have made a huge difference to the Companions who call Emmaus Hastings & Rother home and who work in the Superstore.”

Niamh McCann

Projects Manager at CRASH

“Thanks to CRASH, we already had a good year refurbishing the Superstore, kitchens and dining room – but the windows are the icing on the cake and complete the whole project. It was a distant fantasy to us but thanks to your incredible support over the years, we now have a building to be proud of. Companions and the public have made some really positive comments about the transformation, and the upgrade has had a tangible effect on sales.”

Zach Hurst

Manager at Emmaus Hastings & Rother

“A huge thank you to CRASH Patrons and supporters for all of your hard work at Emmaus Hastings & Rother. This is a great example of what can be achieved when the industry comes together through CRASH. Over the years, you have made a huge difference to the Companions who call Emmaus Hastings & Rother home and who work in the Superstore.”

Niamh McCann

Projects Manager at CRASH

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