A CHARITY that fights against homelessness has launched a new fundraising retail operation in Redditch town centre.

Emmaus has taken 5,705 sq ft at Unit 4A, The Quadrant, Alcester Street, on a five year lease.

In a prominent location, it is opposite the main Post Office and close by the Kingfisher Shopping Centre which attracts more than 200,000 visitors a week.

The shop will provide three full time jobs and 15-20 volunteer opportunities. Unlike most Emmaus outlets which deal in donated goods, it will be selling brand new products which are the result of an arrangement with a major high street retailer.

The launch follows the recent opening of the charity’s textiles and clothing sorting business, the UK distribution centre for the division, at Heming Road, Washford, Redditch, which will create 30 new jobs and 40 volunteer opportunities. Clothes are sorted and re-sold, with the bulk exported to Africa and Pakistan.

Both moves came with the help of property agents John Truslove.

Emmaus Communities offer homeless people a home, work and the chance to rebuild their lives.

There are currently 24 around the UK.

Project manager Neil Booker said: "We are very excited by our new shop. We have a huge range of products and the best prices in town and as well as raising money for the charity it provides some real bargains for the people of Redditch.”

John Truslove partner Ian Parker said: “Emmaus is a go-ahead charity, doing tremendous work with those who desperately need help.

“Their latest expansion in Redditch is very welcome. It is good to see them doing so well.”

Emmaus communities enable people to move on from homelessness, providing a supportive environment. Companions, as residents are known, work full time collecting renovating and reselling donated furniture, clothing, bedding, household goods and the like.

Often companions have been living on the streets and sleeping rough. They come from different backgrounds and have become homeless for various reasons. Many struggle with alcohol and drug dependency. Those coming to Emmaus must be prepared to work and to sign off Job Seekers Allowance. Those addicted to alcohol or drugs must want to overcome this, as no alcohol or drugs are allowed in communities

The work supports the community financially and enables residents to develop skills, rebuild self-respect and help others in similar need.

Emmaus is a secular movement, spanning 36 countries. Turnover for the UK is £18 million.
Patrons include Terry Waite and The Duchess of Cornwall.

The first Emmaus Community was founded in Paris in 1949 by Abbé Pierre, a priest, MP and former member of the French Resistance.