Breakfast meeting 22 May – Emmaus

At our May breakfast meeting we began with the regular round-up of upcoming club events – in particular the Walk the Watercress Way 10k sponsored walk on Sunday 2 June.

Our speaker was Ben Parkin, of Emmaus Hampshire, based at Bar End. Members were familiar with the shop and cafe, and Ben explained in more detail the Emmaus concept. The history of Emmaus began in Paris in 1949 when the first Emmaus community was founded by Father Henri-Antoine Grouès, better known as Abbé Pierre. He was an MP, Catholic priest and former member of the French Resistance who fought to provide homes for those who lived on the streets of Paris.

Emmaus Hampshire opened its doors in 2009 and became the 19th Emmaus community in the UK. It is a purpose-built community that originally provided a home to 24 formerly homeless people. Companion is a name given to those who live in the Emmaus community and work in the social enterprise where they support themselves and one another. Emmaus Hampshire’s social enterprise generates money that pays for companions home, food, upkeep and personal development, as well as providing a small weekly allowance.

It was particularly interesting to us, as in 2007 when Colin Cook was club President, Winchester Rotary raised £15k towards the community and Paul Russell was one of its first trustees. We hope for further collaborative work with the community.

Ben Parkin

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