The company will aim to support Emmaus in a number of areas which will include fundraising; providing practical advice on building fabric maintenance; working closely with a network of locations and offering opportunities for homeless colleagues to re-enter the workplace.
Emmaus seeks to offer homeless people more than just a bed for the night, instead looking to provide a home, meaningful work and ‘a sense of belonging.’ The first Emmaus community opened in 1992 and there are now 25 communities spread across the UK. There are also seven Emmaus groups currently working to open new communities.
The charity now supports more than 640 formerly homeless people by providing them with a home for as long as they need it and meaningful work in a social enterprise. There are plans to increase this to 1,000 places by 2020 in order to meet growing demand.
Arvinda Gohil, chief executive of Emmaus UK, said: “It’s great to be working with the Avonside Group. As organisations, we’re both responsible for putting a roof over people’s heads, so there’s obvious synergy here.
“The money that Avonside Group raises for us as part of this partnership will go into our companion training fund, which is used to provide training and support to the people we work with, helping them to regain the confidence that is often lost while they’re living on the streets to develop new skills that will assist them to move forward with their lives in a positive way.
“Restoring self-esteem is central to the Emmaus approach as we know the impact homelessness can have. Often the physical side of living on the streets pales in comparison to the mental turmoil that comes from feeling that you don’t have a purpose and a place in society. Having meaningful work to do every day makes a big difference, restoring feelings of self-worth and puts companions back in control of their own life. Avonside Group’s support will help us to support even more people and we are really looking forward to working with them.”
Tony Burke, managing director at Avonside Group, said: “I am delighted with the partnership and feel that the charity is a perfect fit for the business. We carefully selected Emmaus and believe they are a great fit to the ethos of Avonside and the locations of our branches across the UK are similar to those of Emmaus, meaning we can work even closer together and offer much more in volunteering and support.
“We hope that our collaboration with Emmaus will not only help raise much-needed funds but also help engage with new audiences, provide opportunities to inspire people to support Emmaus in the long term, and help them deliver lasting change.
“We take our Corporate Social Responsibility seriously and rather than simply writing a cheque we want to build an on-going partnership with Emmaus which continues to deliver tangible benefits to communities across the UK.”
For more information on Emmaus UK and its work, visit www.emmaus.org.uk