Emmaus arrived in the UK in the early 1990s. It was inspired by a comment from a homeless man to a Cambridge business man, Selwyn Image. When Selwyn asked him what he wanted, the man replied: ‘I want to work and belong. I want my self-respect back. I don’t want to queue for hand-outs or have to beg for food. And I don’t want people to cross the street to avoid me.’ At that point, Selwyn remembered his time as a volunteer at the Emmaus Community in Paris while he was a student, 30 years before. He started introducing people to the idea of Emmaus.
Two years later, the first Emmaus Community in Britain opened near Cambridge. In the following year, work started to set up a Community in Coventry, and projects in London, Dover and Manchester followed closely behind. Emmaus Communities continue to be established in the UK, all based on the Abbé Pierre’s founding principles of acceptance, sharing, working for others in greater need, and self-respect.
You can find out more about Emmaus UK on their web site.