A homeless charity forced to shut up shop because it didn’t have a roof over its head is back in business.
Emmaus has returned to Preston city centre after a nine-month absence insisting: “The public have really missed us.”
The charity, which sells donated furniture, bric-a-brac and electrical goods to help give displaced people a stable home and meaningful work, was driven out of its old shop in Friargate in March after atrocious weather brought the ceiling crashing down. Staff have now relocated to another shop 100 yards further up the same road and it is now business as usual.
The new premises were officially opened yesterday, although the intended guest of honour, former hostage Terry Waite, failed to make the ceremony due to travel difficulties.
The former Church of England envoy, who famously spent 1,763 days in captivity in Lebanon, is patron of the charity and opened the previous premises in 2012. He has now rescheduled his visit to Preston to meet the charity’s residents.
“There were logistical problems with getting him here so we had to cancel his trip,” explained Alex Walker at Emmaus. “He is still going to come up and see the companions here and I’m sure he will stick his head round the door of the shop and say ‘hello.’ Terry was very disappointed he couldn’t be here, but he’s now looking forward to visiting us soon.”
Emmaus has taken a six-month lease on the shop in Friargate. The charity also has a superstore and warehouse in Deepdale Mill Street, off Ribbleton Lane.
Alex added: “It’s good to be back in Friargate. We had to vacate the last shop because the ceiling fell in during bad weather. I think the people of Preston have really taken Emmaus to their hearts and are impressed by the whole concept.”
Emmaus are also opening a new shop in Lancaster and are looking for more volunteers.