At the heart of our community are our companions.
We believe that every human being is special and has gifts and talents that can be used to help others no matter what their background and experiences. We hope that all who join us as companions will not only move forward themselves but improve the lives of others around them and in the wider community.
What to expect on joining the community
- Be living in a safe place with other companions.
- Work a 5-day week in our social business – this goes to help not only pay for your place with us but also helps others most in need.
- Receive your board and lodging (rent paid for by Housing Benefit) and we give you £37 a week, £5 of which saved on your behalf to be available when you leave the community.
- Sign off Benefits.
- Receive holidays and allowances to go on holidays.
- Stay for as long or short a time as you choose. There is no limit to how long you can stay.
- Have your own en-suite room.
- Have all your meals, toiletries, heating, laundry facilities provided for you.
- Be welcomed by the community pet dog.
- Be expected to follow strictly the community’s rules:
- No violence, non-prescribed drugs or alcohol are permitted in the community.
- Give you the chance to improve your quality of life.
- Encourage and support you in tackling issues such as:
- Finding a job and a home.
- Mending relationships.
- Further education.
- Achieving better health.
- Encourage you to help others through our programme of “solidarity” (see below).
The Emmaus ethos is to help others who are worse off. We call this Solidarity and it has many faces. We reach out as far as Central Africa and have helped set up a project to provide clean drinking water in a village in Benin. In addition we have helped local people and a number of projects in Bosnia and Bulgaria.
Please see above section towards top of this page called How to Apply if you wish to become a Emmaus Glasgow companion or would like further information.
Living in a community
‘We are a community, somewhere where we are united and together’
Emmaus offers a home in a community, where people can live and work, sharing a life together, but retaining their own dignity and independence. At Emmaus, everyone is accepted for who they are now, not judged on what they might have been in the past.
There are no rules about how long a companion (as those who live and work in Emmaus Communities are known) may stay, provided they abide by the principles of Emmaus and the spirit of the community.
Being a community is not just a matter of living together; it requires commitment. All companions must respect each other and contribute to the well-being of the community. They must agree to abide by the rules, for example not bringing alcohol or drugs into the community.
There are, of course, people for whom an Emmaus community is not appropriate, for example if they require a degree of care and support which Emmaus is unable to offer, or because they pose a risk that the community cannot manage. The degree of support which each community can offer depends on its circumstances at the time.
Emmaus is a secular organisation which is not linked to any religious faith or denomination; companions of any faith, or none, are welcome.
Working in a community
‘We are not beggars. We are not a welfare organisation. We are workers with a job to do.’
On the day a companion joins a community he or she ‘signs off’ unemployment benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance or Incapacity Benefit (though they will be asked to apply for Housing Benefit, which will be paid directly to the community). Everyone who joins an Emmaus community accepts that they will be expected to work full time.
The work is an integral part of community life. The business side of the community helps to generate the revenue which will make a community self-sustaining. All the proceeds of the community’s work go into the ‘pot’ and every companion receives out of that their board and clothing, plus weekly spending money of £32 per week. A sum of around £5 is also set aside for the companion as savings.
Any surplus created by the business is used to help those who have less. Sharing (or solidarity) is central to the Emmaus ethos and may take many forms. It may be an established community helping out a new community just starting. Or it may be that the companions support the local night shelter or send money to Emmaus International to help projects overseas.
The main business activity for Emmaus Communities is collecting donated goods and selling them in the community shop. companions work in all aspects of the business, doing a variety of tasks such as:
- driving the van to collect/deliver items.
- refurbishing items in the workshop.
- sorting donated items.
- distributing leaflets to local business and homes.
- working in the customer café.
- serving customers in the shop.
Just as importantly, there is the work within the community, for example:
- preparing meals.
- house cleaning.
- maintaining the grounds.
Communities provide any training necessary for companions to do their work, such as health and safety, food hygeine, workshop training etc. Many companions also undertake other courses, such as literacy, numeracy, driving or computing.
Joining a community
You can find out more about joining Emmaus Glasgow and apply here.