Ten new bedrooms created by charity for homeless this Christmas

woman in orange jacket in front of housing block

Cecile Roberts, director of Norfolk & Waveney Emmaus in front of the new housing block. - Credit: SARAH BROWN

A Norfolk charity which provides a home and work for people on the streets has created new bedrooms for those in need. 

row of workers outside convent

The Emmaus Norfolk team. - Credit: Supplied

The Norfolk & Waveney branch of Emmaus offers people who have been homeless a place to live for as long as is needed and the opportunity to gain new skills through its charity shops in Norwich, Ditchingham, south Norfolk and Bungay, Suffolk.

Inside hostel room

Inside one of the rooms already occupied at the Norfolk & Waveney Emmaus converted convent. - Credit: Sarah Brown

It has just unveiled 10 new bedrooms at its Ditchingham premises, in a converted convent. Each includes a female-friendly area with private toilet facilities. These are designed to help homeless women, many coping with physical or sexual abuse.

inside hostel bedroom

Inside one of the new rooms for someone who is currently homeless. - Credit: Supplied

Beccles kitchen company Creative Interiors by Design donated two kitchens for the new accommodation area.

One of the kitchens has been fitted in a communal area while the second has gone into a staff area for the live-in support workers. Located on the former site of the All Hallows Community Convent, Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney first opened its doors to 'companions', the name given to those living within its community, in 2011.

The increase in capacity means that the charity can now support 32 homeless people, giving them the opportunity to rebuild their lives in a stable environment.

Inside hostel with yellow walls

Inside the new housing block at the Norfolk Emmaus centre in Ditchingham. - Credit: SARAH BROWN

Cecile Roberts, director of Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney, said: “The creation of 10 new bedrooms means we can offer a way out of homelessness to even more people here in Norfolk.

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"We’ve been providing homes and work to homeless people for nine years, and our experience has shown us that there is a real need for female-only facilities, giving homeless women somewhere to live where they feel completely safe.”

According to a report published by housing charity Shelter in December 2018, there were an estimated 601 homeless people in Norfolk with the majority living in temporary accommodation and 49 sleeping on the streets. Across the east of England, one in 306 people were homeless – the third-highest rate of England’s nine regions. Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney supports up to 32 formerly homeless people and there are currently 29 Emmaus communities across the country, supporting more than 800 people. 

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