Search

Terry Waite and Louis de Bernières visit Emmaus Norwich Community, in Ditchingham

09:35 03 April 2012

Terry Waite and Louis De Bernieres on a visit to the Emmaus centre, Ditchingham, Norfolk.  Terry Waite and Louis De Bernieres with some of the residents of the centre and chairman Brian Day (right). Picture: Nick Butcher

Terry Waite and Louis De Bernieres on a visit to the Emmaus centre, Ditchingham, Norfolk. Terry Waite and Louis De Bernieres with some of the residents of the centre and chairman Brian Day (right). Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

Former hostage Terry Waite visited a community of homeless people yesterday who are working to rebuild their own lives.

Mr Waite took a tour around the Emmaus Norwich Community, in Ditchingham, near Bungay, as he saw how the charity’s latest community was establishing itself.

The former Lebanon hostage was joined by Norfolk writer Louis de Bernières as the two of them spoke to those who are helping themselves to become self sufficient.

The group of seven residents – known as companions – have been living and working together at the former All Hallows convent and last month celebrated their first day selling donated furniture and bric-a-brac.

Mr Waite, president of Emmaus UK, said the group was helping to serve the wider community and he had seen first hand how this had made a big difference to lives nationwide.

“They don’t receive charity, they come here to work and get back into life,” he said. “There is a lack of opportunity in society and giving handouts is no answer.

“We have got to provide an opportunity for people to develop their own talents and abilities.”

Mr Waite first became involved in the group after being asked by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie

“The former archbishop asked me to be involved as, through my experience in captivity he felt I understood the margins of life,” he said.

“Many people on the margins of life have been on the streets for a variety of reasons and this is an opportunity for them to get back on their feet.”

Mr de Bernières said he liked that the companions were expected to make their own way forward.

“I have been unemployed and seen how easy it can be to get into a difficult situation and see how you can’t get out. Places like this help in a constructive way,” he said.

The Emmaus Norwich Community was established at the former convent buildings to offer homeless people the chance to work and live together away from drugs or alcohol. It currently has seven companions but it is hoped it will be able support 25.

One of those enjoying their time there is Lawrence O’Sullivan, who was at Emmaus St Albans for four months before helping to set up the new community.

Mr O’Sullivan, 50, said he had been living rough in London before hearing of the community.

“There was no structure in my life but doing this I feel really good again,” he said.

The group’s secondhand outlet is open from 10am to 4pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

To donate household items contact 01986 895444 or info@emmausnorwich.org

richard.wood@archant.co.uk

1 comment

  • The Emmaus in Cambridgeshire is a great success and their store is a trove of treasure. Good fortune with the Norwich Community.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Other news

11:29

Firefighters from Halesworth quickly dealt with a van, which was ablaze in a street in Darsham.

09:30

Delicious cuisine is on the menu at Bungay’s Fisher Theatre with the launch of a calendar full of recipes to get the taste buds tingling.

06:30

A north Suffolk school has been selected with only a handful of other primary providers throughout the country for inclusion in a prestigious national document that highlights best practice.

Most Read

06:30

A north Suffolk school has been selected with only a handful of other primary providers throughout the country for inclusion in a prestigious national document that highlights best practice.

Read more
Primary School
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The sounds of motocross bikes echoed around Beccles as family and friends gathered to say goodbye to rider Tom Pattison.

Read more
Tom Pattison
06:30

Her room is covered with posters of her favourite players, signed shirts and the latest Nike footballs.

Read more
Bungay High School
Yesterday, 06:30

Residents of Beccles and beyond are being invited to have their say on potential changes to the way minor injury services are delivered in the town.

Read more
Andy Evans

Local Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 10°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Beccles and Bungay Journal e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up