Bedford charity celebrates providing 32 homeless people with homes and jobs

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A charity in Bedford is holding a special celebration on Saturday to mark 25 years of supporting homeless people.

Emmaus Village Carlton provides a home and meaningful work for 32 people who have experienced homelessness.

To mark this anniversary year, Emmaus is inviting customers and supporters to join them for free tea and coffee at their Solidarity Sale.

The event will be held at School Lane, Carlton from 9.30am to 4.30pm. All proceeds from the day will go to support Emmaus communities in other parts of the world.

The first Emmaus community opened in Cambridge in 1991. It took a different approach to dealing with homelessness than many other charities, offering the combination of a stable home and meaningful work.

Carlong member Jaswant Singh said: “I joined Village Carlton from another community and the companions and staff here have really helped me settle in. I finally feel I have a sense of purpose and direction in my life again. I can’t thank Emmaus enough”.

The scheme operates a furniture shop, bric a brac shop, a boutique and a bistro. The money generated from the social enterprises supports the community, as well as providing meaningful work for companions.

Ian O’Hara, Community Director said: “All the companions feel part of what we are trying to achieve here. They know that all their efforts are rewarded because all the profits go back in to the community to help them make a better life for themselves”

Emmaus UK’s President, Terry Waite CBE added: “The way in which the UK movement has grown and been supported over the past 25 years is incredibly humbling. As homelessness continues to rise, each local community has helped to tackle this problem, providing those in need with not just a bed for the night but opportunities to work, contribute to society and change their lives on their own terms.

“I’m proud of all we have achieved upon this landmark anniversary and encourage you all to attend our celebration events across the country on 25 June”.