Emmaus homelessness charity seeks volunteers

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Emmaus volunteers
Volunteer Iona Price with staff member Jackie Bartholomew – behind the scenes in the clothing sorting room at the Emmaus Village Carlton Home Store.

Could you spare some time to join a team of volunteers helping to run a Bedfordshire homelessness charity’s popular Emmaus Home Store?

Emmaus Village Carlton supports 42 formerly homeless people by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem to help rebuild their lives.

The charity’s popular on-site Home Store, near Carlton, sells furniture and household items, as well as clothing, books and bric-a-brac.

More than 35 volunteers regularly give up their time to help out in many different roles including sorting and pricing donated items for sale, assisting with a van service collecting and delivering furniture, helping with office administration and joining a team growing plants and vegetables in their on-site garden.

Money raised in-store supports the charity’s vital work.

Iona Price from Sharnbrook has been volunteering for Emmaus Village Carlton for the past six months: “When my husband passed away I decided that volunteering would be a good way to get out of the house and meet new people.

“I knew about the Home Store as I live close by, so popped in to ask how I could help. I now volunteer twice a week, assisting with sorting the bags of donated children’s clothing.

“I enjoy sifting through and finding the good pieces, pricing them up ready to be sold. We’re always very busy and time flies when I’m here.

“Everyone’s very friendly and the volunteers all have lunch together with staff and those being supported by the charity, which gives people a chance to get to know each other. It’s also a good feeling to be able to give back to my local community; I’d definitely recommend it to others.”

Emmaus staff member Jackie Bartholomew works behind the scenes of the Home Store, sorting donated items and helping to support the team of volunteers: “I started out here as a volunteer myself, so I really understand how important it is that people are welcomed and feel valued, especially as they are giving up their time for free.

“When I first started as a volunteer, everyone bent over backwards to make sure I was feeling fine. Emmaus Village Carlton often does feel like one big family: everyone knows everyone else and there’s a good community atmosphere. New volunteers get full training and we support them all the way.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can get in touch with the charity by calling 01234 720826 or emailing barbarafitzgerald@emmausvc.org

To find out more about Emmaus Village Carlton visit www.emmaus.org.uk/village_carlton