Charities join forces to help the homeless in South Tyneside

A charity partnership is helping people without a place to call their own feel more at home '“ through a donation of sofas.

Thursday, 4th January 2018, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 4th January 2018, 12:55 pm
Emmaus companion Vinni with one of the sofas
Emmaus companion Vinni with one of the sofas

The Key Project and Emmaus North East have combined resources to give the homeless a comfier Christmas and New Year.

Emmaus, which operates a 15-bedroom support centre in Stanhope Road, South Shields, has handed the settees to its fellow charity in a sign of festive friendship.

Bosses at the Key Project, which also helps the homeless, says they will be used at its five move-on flats in South Shields.

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Both organisations provide support, advice and a safe environment to help residents prepare for independent living.

John Harrison, community manager for Emmaus North East, said: “Solidarity is a cornerstone of the Emmaus movement.

“We are delighted to be able to help another local homelessness organisation.

“We have a lot of stored furniture and need to make space for our workshop operation, so it is perfect timing to donate some to the Key Project.”

Lisa Coates, manager of the Key Project’s move-on accommodation, added: “It is really great to get these sofas and so helpful and generous of Emmaus.

“I hope that we can work with them again in the future.”

Emmaus invested £850,000 in creating its centre, which provides accommodation and often life-changing support to people - called companions - who have been made homeless.

It was opened by former Beirut hostage Terry Waite, president of the national Emmaus Federation.

The organisation helps those aged up to 65, to recover their self-confidence and learn new skills to enable them to move on to independent living and employment.

Overall, it runs 29 such centres and supports around 750 people - known as companions - at any time.

Emmaus North East also runs shops in Hebburn and Low Fell, Gateshead, which sell furniture, books, fashion, and collectables, money from which supports its work.

Companions work in the outlets, gaining new skills and re-building confidence.

The Key Project, based in Baring Street, South Shields, helps the under-25s.

As well as its move on flats, it also has two supported houses which can accommodate nine people.

More information on Emmaus is at www.emmaus.org.uk and the Key Project at www.keyproject.org.uk