Emmaus has been established in the UK for 25 years. In 1991, the first Emmaus community launched its activities in the Cambridge area with two caravans and a portakabin. Since then, 28 communities have opened and helped over 11,000 homeless people to make a fresh start.
To mark this anniversary, an event was organised at the London Residence of the French Ambassador to the UK, Sylvie Bermann. The Duchess of Cornwall, who is the association’s royal patron, joined others involved in the Movement to celebrate the work accomplished by Emmaus over the past 25 years and look ahead to the future. In her speech, she highlighted the importance of the work of Emmaus UK, with the number of people sleeping rough in 2015 rising by 30%.
Selwyn Image also gave an account of how he founded Emmaus in the UK. In 1991, while he was volunteering at a soup and sandwich shelter in Cambridge, a homeless person approached him and told him of his despair. He explained to Selwyn what he really needed: somewhere to work, where he felt he belonged and where he could recover his self-respect. Selwyn remembered some work experience he had done during the 1960s at the Emmaus Neuilly-Plaisance community in France. He began to think about how he might set up an organisation like this. And this was how the very first Emmaus community in the UK was founded in Cambridge.
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