French canal challenge for former homeless man

Ian from Emmaus
Ian from Emmaus

A Carlton man is to join a group of formerly homeless people to cycle a French canal to help the charity that supports them.

Ian, 52, who used to be homeless, slept in night shelters and hostels where he could, before finding long-term support from homelessness charity Emmaus, and now lives at their village in Carlton.

He will be joining a group of other Emmaus companions and staff to cycle 365km along the Nantes to Brest canal, raising funds for the charity, starting on Friday, September 22.

Ian said: “We decided to get fit and raise some cash for this wonderful cause close to all our hearts. It’ll be a hard slog with many days of cycling ahead of us, but our aches and pains will be a small price to pay when compared to what Emmaus Village Carlton has done for me in the nine months I’ve lived here.”

Emmaus Village Carlton supports 42 formerly homeless people by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem to help rebuild their lives.

Ian added: “When people ask me about Emmaus, I always say that it’s a homelessness charity with a difference. It offers more than just a bed for the night – it gives people the chance to do so much more and improve their lives. We’ve been training hard over the past few months so hopefully our efforts will ensure everyone makes it to the finish line and lots of money is raised for Emmaus Village Carlton.”

The cycle challenge has been funded by a grant from The Eileen Alexander Legacy Fund through the University of Bedfordshire, covering travel expenses and equipment, so all sponsorship raised by the group will support the services provided by Emmaus Village Carlton.

Anyone wishing to sponsor Ian and his team can visit their Justgiving page at