Author Archive | Chris

Camilla HRH Visiting Emmaus Hull800

Chair Chris O’Donnell; Reflecting on 12 Years and Recruiting for a New Chair

I’ve been a trustee of Emmaus Hull & East Riding for twelve years now, and Chair for two years. We’ve gone from a small group of enthusiasts meeting in borrowed premises to a flourishing and innovative community of almost thirty formerly homeless people (our companions) in a purpose-built residence and commercial centre. It’s been quite a journey, but hard work from all our trustees and staff has made it happen. We set out to have a facility of which Hull and the East Riding could be proud, as well as providing a real home for our companions. It took seven years to find the partners and funds to achieve this, but we finally opened our premises on Lockwood Street in 2016, and they have served us and the community well to date. We’ve had special visitors; The Duchess of Cornwall, our national Patron, was both gracious and down to earth during her visit to the community. Terry Waite, our national President, has not only visited but stayed overnight in our community. Our opening ceremony, with lots of balloons, was conducted by our two local Patrons, Alan Johnson and Patrick Doyle (who was Chair at the time). Lots of local societies, […]

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Voluntary Vacancy for Chair of Trustees

Emmaus Hull and East Riding are recruiting for their new Chair of Trustees to lead the Board of Trustees and help them to meet their strategic goals for 2021 and beyond. This is a voluntary, non-remunerated post requiring a time commitment of around two days per month to perform effectively. Overall the role encompasses: Leading the Board and the organisation to enable it to fulfil its purpose Ensuring an effective relationship between: the Board and the Staff, Companions and Volunteers the Board and the external stakeholders/community the Board and Emmaus UK Acting as a spokesperson and ambassador as appropriate Supervise and supporting the Head of Staff

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Case Study: November 2020

The Emmaus Outreach team have been working with a guy who has been on and off the streets for over a year now. We have tried numerous times to engage with him, but it is very hit and miss with this chap. Over the year that he has been rough sleeping we have secured him numerous beds across the city some of which he has turned up for but most of the time said he did not want to access the accommodation offered. We have also been working with his mental health worker and trying to get him to engage with this rough sleeper but with no success. This rough sleeper is very hard to engage with, but we must try and gain his trust so that when we do see him, he can have a chat with us about his problems. We did manage to secure him a room at a hostel where he stayed for a month but unfortunately was asked to leave due to his behaviour, so we were back to square one and he was now back on the streets. It was now approaching winter and we were getting more and more concerned about his welfare […]

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Case Study: August to December 2020

A young man was sat on the street late at night in August was found by an organisation who deal with working women. They called me and said they were with someone who was homeless and asked if I would come and see him. I responded and went to see him. He seemed very young and vulnerable and spoke very quietly. I asked him his name, date of birth and lots of other information we usually ask. We filled out a form for a housing association and he was happy with this. He told us he had been convicted for arson previously so this limited his options. I knew his case would be difficult after this point as there are very few places that will accept people with previous convictions of arson because their insurance does not cover it. The young man also told me that he never wants to return to a hostel as he previously was bullied. After filling out the Humbercare form I said there was nothing I could do for him immediately as he didn’t want to go into hostels. After further investigation I found out that this young man was convicted for arson at his […]

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Companion vision boards: 2020 and the future

Emmaus Hull & East Riding Companions have been saying goodbye to the year through an art project that encourages them to look forward to a brighter 2021. Using craft supplies and magazine cuttings, 10 individuals have taken part in a new vision board project that focuses on their future goals and promotes positive thinking during the pandemic. The project has been led by the Support team, Progression Worker Sally said, “The aim of the project is to help the people we support to set positive goals and give them a sense of control about how their future can look. All the individuals involved are trying to rebuild their lives following homelessness. One participant chose to write a goodbye letter to his ‘friend’ on his vision board. The friend he was referring to was alcohol.” “It has been a tough year for residents as the charity shop closures meant they temporarily lost their work and sense of purpose. Projects like this are beneficial for our companion’s wellbeing and mental health. Everyone has been incredibly engaged in the project and are very proud of what they have created”. Homelessness, domestic violence, alcoholism, drug abuse and social exclusion are just some of the […]

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international volunteer day 2020

Volunteer profile – Christine

Hi, my name is Christine and I am a volunteer with the Emmaus Hull Rough Sleeper Outreach Team.  When my position as Local Community Partner with global graphics and pre-media company, Trident, was furloughed I soon realised that I needed to do something constructive with my time. Due to the nature of my job I knew it would involve volunteering. There were a number of reasons why I chose Emmaus; one being to support a section of society that was most vulnerable during the pandemic, namely, rough sleepers. From the moment I walked through the doors at the volunteer induction I knew I had made the right choice and was made to feel part of the team from my first shift. The outreach volunteer role can involve working with rough sleepers already known to the team, whether the team is arranging temporary accommodation, filling in housing or benefit applications or simply carrying out welfare checks or providing warm clothes. It may also involve attending to reports from the general public of someone whom may be in need of assistance. That’s the interesting part as locating them it is sometimes like trying to find a needle in a haystack! I have […]

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Case Study – SB

Safe to say the year 2020 has been rocky for everyone, but for someone with no fixed abode it is particularly difficult. It’s been a tough year, having had a short-term tough relationship, several heartbreaking losses (one being the death of my sister), losing my job and accommodation in the space of an hour and lock down rules making certain places no longer an option, I felt massively overwhelmed with little hope. It felt like it was one thing after another and this in turn impacted my mental health. I found myself making bad choices, spending time with people up to no good and turned to excessive alcohol drinking and developing a poor attitude towards my physical health. Over 6 months on and off I was sofa surfing, which is very unsettling and sadly becoming very common. Some nights I stayed over the bridge with family and some nights, I didn’t sleep at all. When I had nowhere sorted to go or if last minute, I wasn’t able to stay where I had arranged, I would find myself walking from one end of Hull to the other. The longest time spent consecutively with nowhere to go, setting off late from […]

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Paul’s story

In 2005 I Became homeless for the first time. When you are homeless, you never really close your eyes. I avoided the towns and tried to keep a low profile. If you had anything of value, you would get jumped. Sometimes you would get jumped just because someone felt like it – they didn’t need a reason. There were times I felt like ending it all, but something always held me back. I managed to find work at Funfairs and at Holiday Camps but the work was seasonal and I wasn’t accomplishing anything long term. A move back to Yorkshire to re connect with family didn’t work out like I imagined so I found myself back in the South sleeping rough once more. There were days I felt like jumping off the end of the Pier, but then I was referred to Emmaus and my life changed. The day I walked into Emmaus was emotional. I didn’t feel judged and I was welcomed by everyone. You just can’t explain the feeling of relief when you don’t have to worry about your next meal or your next hot shower. We have our ups and downs like all families, and that’s what […]

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Emmaus Hull and ER with homeless man-opt


This World Homeless Day (Saturday 10 October), Emmaus Hull and East Riding is raising awareness and fundraising for two life-saving defibrillators. Hull and West Hessle MP Emma Hardy backs the fundraising campaign and is a long-standing supporter of Emmaus Hull and East Riding. The new equipment will help to provide emergency cardiac intervention to the homeless community in Hull and East Riding. At a cost of £1,000 each, they have set a total fundraising goal of £2,000. Emmaus Hull and East Riding manage a Rough Sleeper Outreach team which is commissioned by Hull City Council and East Riding Council. The service has supported 204 new rough sleepers this year so far (Jan – Sept). The dedicated team are continuing to support rough sleepers through the national COVID pandemic into safe accommodation. Outreach Manager Pierce Dundridge explained that “During our times out on the street we often come across people with health needs and have to find the nearest defibrillator.  This can be impossible if we have come across someone in a remote rural area. Having these pieces of equipment in both of our outreach vehicles would give the teams that added piece of mind that if the worst was to […]

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Case Study – sofa surfing

Alison P has been working with a gentleman who had been sofa surfing and rough sleeping for over four months.  He was a victim of domestic violence but would  not report this to the Police or accept support for this at the time of being on the streets. The Gentleman was drinking alcohol excessively to compensate for the situation he had found himself in.  A situation that had been going on for many years. Alison built up trust with the gentleman over time and a move out plan from the marital home into a temporary crash pad was arranged.  Ongoing work and support is now being offered in the crash pad with Simon and Alison. The gentleman is now working with the Alcohol service and has been referred for support with the domestic violence team. This is the first time he has ever accepted this help. The team will be working with the East Riding Council to arrange a permanent housing solution within a twelve-week period.  A furniture package will be included in the move on and white goods funding will also be applied for.

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