A LOCAL branch of a UK charity celebrated developments towards a long-term solution to homelessness in Hampshire.

Staff and volunteers from across Hampshire gathered at the Emmaus superstore in Bar End to recognise three major improvements made to help combat homelessness within the county.

Emmaus currently houses 34 people in the Bar End area, with each resident working within the social enterprise to build their skills to eventually find a job and a home of their own.

This spring, it opened a new repair workshop to turn waste wood into products and installed a new commercial kitchen. The project follows an expansion in the charity’s accommodation providing space for 40 more people to have a roof over their head.

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Speaking to supporters, volunteers and residents, chair of trustees of Emmaus Hampshire, Hazel Warwick, said: “In incredibly challenging times, we have delivered so much more than we could ever imagine. This has only been possible thanks to the dedication of everyone involved at Emmaus and the thousands of people across Winchester who support the work we do by using our shop.”

The event was attended by the city’s mayor, Cllr Derek Green, who has encouraged local residents to support the charity. He said: “Emmaus is an absolutely wonderful place and support the residents get is marvellous. I would really encourage local people to visit the Emmaus superstore in Bar End, donate your unwanted things or volunteer your time so that more people in our area can be helped to find a long-term solution to homelessness.”

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Emmaus opened in 1991 and now has 30 communities across the UK including its Hampshire base in Winchester. The community homestore in Bar End Road accepts household donations such as furniture, books and DVDs.

Residents of the Winchester branch work within the shop and repair store or as delivery drivers to cover living expenses and contribute to the self-sustaining charity.

To find out more visit emmaus.org.uk/hampshire/