Emmaus Europe

United Kingdom

Emmaus in the UK

Emmaus has had a presence in the UK since 1991 and the movement now has 27 member groups in the country. All the groups are “classic” Emmaus communities which are very active in the fight against homelessness and its causes. The groups in the country benefit from the support of their national organisation, Emmaus UK.


One night a group of volunteers were giving out soup to homeless people when one of them cried out, “We don’t need food, we need work!” One of these volunteers, Selwyn Image, was a businessman. He then remembered his experiences in the 1960s with the Emmaus Neuilly-Plaisance community in France, where he spent several months working as a volunteer. He contacted Emmaus International and set up the country’s first Emmaus rag-pickers community in Cambridge in 1991.

Main Activities

  • Welcome, providing accommodation, reintegration
  • Collecting, reusing, recycling and selling on objects
  • Political campaigning and awareness raising on the topic of homelessness
  • Local, european and international solidarity initiatives

Secondary Activities

  • Home collection service
  • Fixing objects, upcycling, joinery work
  • Solidarity supermarket
  • Solidarity café
  • Cleaning service


Unit 302 Scott House
Birmingham B9 4AA

+44 (0)300 303 7555


Check out their website


Key numbers

27 member groups

2 trial member groups

815 companions

850 spaces in accommodation

28 Local groups
Click to see more information about a group



Sue Taylor
Chair of Emmaus UK

The Challenges in the UK

“Often, the view people have of someone experiencing homelessness in the UK is of a person sleeping in a shop doorway or on a park bench, but there are also huge numbers of people staying with friends or sofa-surfing. This is the side of homelessness in the UK we might not see, but it can have just as devastating an impact on the lives of the people going through it. This is where Emmaus in the UK is different from other support providers with our unique model offering a home as well as meaningful work in our social enterprises.”

With pictures

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United Kingdom

Emmaüs Brighton & Hove: A botanical wonderland in Portslade

Head to the conservatory at Emmaus Brighton & Hove, and you will find a garden shop with a difference. The Greenhouse @ Emmaus is a botanical wonderland – a secondhand garden shop filled with a selection of indoor and outdoor plants as well as gardening treasures donated by the public.

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Circular economy / The environment 

United Kingdom

Emmaus Bolton – Joinery and Upcycling Workshops

Two years ago Emmaus Bolton opened workshops where they make wooden items and upcycle furniture. The idea behind this was to provide the companions with the opportunity to acquire new skills and it has worked a treat!

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Circular economy / The environment 

United Kingdom

Emmaus in the UK

Based on an Interview with Sue Taylor President of Emmaus UK and National delegate for UK at Emmaus Europe’s regional Council.

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