£20,000 life line from Essex Freemasons

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A leading Colchester charity, dedicated to helping the homeless back into the community, has been given a £20,000 lifeline by Essex Freemasons, following what could only be described as a perfect storm.

Emmaus, which has been helping the homeless across north Essex for more than 20 years, had been hit by a ‘triple whammy’ of events over the last nine months following the Covid-19 pandemic which saw funding dry up, borrowings increase and reserves seriously diminished.

The situation was made even more difficult by the closure of other charities operating in the Colchester area because of Covid, resulting in a massive increase in workload for Emmaus as the only organisation in the area able to still provide a service for the growing number of homeless.

“It would not be wrong to describe this as a perfect storm,” said Denise King, Chief Executive of Emmaus. “Under normal circumstances we would have received funding via our own charity shops, but these have also had to close during the pandemic and like all charities, we have also been affected by a drop in donations during this difficult period. We literally only had enough funds to stay open for 3 more months, so this donation has provided an amazing lifeline”

“I cannot say how welcome this money is, which will be used to pay for specialist staff. We are not simply a charity that provides people with a bed for the night. We work hard to bring the socially excluded back into the community and off the streets permanently.”

The £20,000 was donated via the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemasons own Charity and was part of a £1 million grant awarded nationally to combat homelessness and rough sleeping.

Paul Reeves, Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Charge of Essex Freemasons, commented: “As part of the local community we always strive to ensure that charitable money is given where it is needed most. Emmaus do some unbelievable work to get people off the streets and eventually into their homes. They literally change lives and I am pleased we have been able to help.”

Such is the need to help the homeless, Essex Freemasons are now looking at ways to help similar charities in other parts of the county. An announcement offering further support is expected in the New Year.