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Norfolk homelessness charity set to reopen shop 

Homelessness charity Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney is reopening the doors to its popular Ditchingham charity shop after a year-long closure. 

The charity was forced to shut the shop on March 16, 2020 in line with the lockdown restrictions. Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney, based at the All Hallows Convent, is also home to 32 formerly homeless people, so the charity decided to keep the site closed to the public until the autumn to keep the residents safe. 

Unfortunately, shortly before it was due to reopen in November, the second national lockdown was announced. This was followed by a third lockdown in January, meaning the doors of the shop have remained closed for more than 12 months.


Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney opened a second shop in Norwich’s Castle Quarter in September, which was also forced to close in line with the national lockdown. The charity receives the majority of its income from the sale of donated items through its shops, so these closures have had a large financial impact, with the charity losing thousands of pounds of revenue in the last 12 months.


It isn’t just the financial impact that the charity has felt. The 32 formerly homeless people supported by the charity, known as companions, all work within the Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney social enterprises. This includes public facing roles in the shops, collecting and sorting stock, and upcycling and recycling furniture. This provides work experience opportunities, training, and a sense of purpose for the people it supports and is key in helping people regain their confidence and self-esteem. 


Due to the year-long shop closures, the charity had to find new ways of supporting its companions. This included the installation of a blacksmith forge and new allotments in the community garden, so the companions could grow their own fruit and veg in the grounds of the former convent they now call home. The companions also worked on fitting out the new Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney shop in Norwich, upcycling old materials to create the shop fittings. They helped create 10 new bedrooms at the Ditchingham community and have completely redecorated the Ditchingham shop.


Cecile Roberts, CEO of Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney, said: “Our team can’t wait to throw the doors open next Tuesday and welcome back our lovely customers who we have missed so much. We’ve got lots of fantastic stock in so please come along and celebrate our reopening with us.”.


Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney charity shops stock a wide range of good-quality pre-loved items, including furniture, homeware, clothing, books and bric-a-brac. The charity is not currently accepting donations.


The Ditchingham shop will be open from 10am – 4.30pm Tuesday to Saturday and 10am – 4pm on Sunday. The Norwich Castle Quarter shop will be open from 10am – 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and 11am – 4pm on Sunday. 


To find out more, visit www.emmaus.org.uk/norfolk-waveney

Pictured above is the Emmaus team at Ditchingham



Eldred Willey, 09/04/2021

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