On Friday 29 April, the Labour MP met with beneficiaries and staff at Emmaus Oxford for a tour of the charity’s community building, where 28 formerly homeless people live, and its second-hand store, where the people supported by the charity work full-time. Also in attendance was Charlotte Talbott, Chief Executive of Emmaus UK and Andrew Morgan Giles, Chair of Trustees at Emmaus Oxford.
Emmaus Oxford provides a home, work experience and training to support people out of homelessness and back into employment. To fund its work, the charity runs a second-hand store on Barns Road, selling donated furniture, household goods, clothing, bric-a-brac and electrical items.
During the tour, Annewliese viewed Emmaus Oxford’s recently purchased 4-bedroom property, located on Oxford Road. The charity plan to refurbish the house and use it as move-on rooms for when beneficiaries secure employment and are ready for more independence.
Shelly, who spent six months sofa-surfing and is now a beneficiary of Emmaus Oxford, met the Anneliese and explained how Emmaus has helped her:
“It was very nice speaking to Ms Dodds and having the opportunity to explain how I ended up sofa-surfing before finding Emmaus. I told her all about moving into my own place later this year and I even got to show her the decorating I had done in our computer room. It was a good feeling having my voice heard by a local MP.”
Commenting on the visit to Emmaus Oxford, Anneliese Dodds MP, said:
“Thank you to Emmaus Oxford for inviting me to along, and Shelly for the tour of the centre, and all of its decoration and renovation.
“It was very interesting to learn about the history of Emmaus, as well as hearing about the support they are providing to those rough sleeping or without a secure place to stay in Oxford, including from those who are looking to move on into permanent accommodation.”
The support of a local MP is important to Emmaus Oxford, as Eddie Blaze, Chief Executive at Emmaus Oxford, explains:
“We’re extremely grateful to Ms Dodds for taking the time to visit Emmaus Oxford. It was great for her to see first-hand the work we do in Oxford and hear from people on the ground – both those with lived experience of homelessness and our staff members who are helping people towards a better future. The visit was a pleasure, and we hope to welcome Ms Dodds back soon.”