The funding was provided for a mentor to the companions, who are individuals that live and work in the Emmaus community. The community includes people that were once homeless, and have now taken up the opportunity to work and live in the accommodation as part of the Emmaus Scheme.
Dr Billings visited Emmaus on Thursday, 1 May to take a look around the shop and the living quarters and hear from himself how the grant funding would help Emmaus move a step closer to becoming sustainable.
He said: “Part of my job is to support organisations that help people who might easily be in trouble with the law, find some stability and normality in their lives. Emmaus does a wonderful job providing accommodation, training and work for people who are homeless, often as a result of drugs or alcohol.
“Emmaus offers a secure and safe place where people can learn some of the essential skills they need to lead worthwhile lives.
“I hope that many will find their way to the shop which sells second-hand furniture and vintage clothes and the café.”
The Emmaus community provides quality self-contained accommodation, communal living, training and counselling facilities for 18 people, workspace and shop for the on-site social enterprise which involves the collection and sale of donated household goods.
Emmaus are tackling the complexity of life for some of the most disadvantaged and hard to reach groups of people who have a chaotic lifestyle. In order to provide stability and foster confidence and dignity close mentoring is required.
Graham Bostock, Community Manager at Emmaus said: “We created a new post of shop supervisor to mentor companions working as shop assistants to help improve their communication and IT skills. Close supervision and fresh experience in a work environment is essential to prepare for life outside the community.
“The men and women that come to us give up benefits, refrain completely from use of drugs and alcohol on the premises and treat others with respect. We work with them to help rehabilitate them and offer life skills that will help them move in to full-time employment when they are ready.
“We have delivery drivers, tradesmen, shop workers and one man that runs the entire EBay shop for us.
“The funding from the Commissioner allows us to provide the mentoring programme and keeps the shop running that provides the income to keep the scheme running.”
The Emmaus Sheffield community is based in a former cutlery factory and a Grade II listed building called Sipelia Works on Cadman Street. To find out more information see here - https://www.emmaus.org.uk/sheffield