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Norfolk homelessness charity launches fundraising appeal to build blacksmithing forge

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Emmaus provides accommodation, meaningful work experience in a social enterprise, and funded training so people who have experienced homelessness can rebuild their confidence and self-esteem, while gaining new skills to get them back into employment.

The Orchard Forge will be located on the charity’s site in Ditchingham alongside its second-hand shop, upcycling workshop, and café. The new addition will provide another part of its social enterprise where residents can gain work experience, as well as producing metal goods to be sold in the charity’s shops.

Speaking about the appeal, Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney Chief Executive Cecile Roberts, said:

“At Emmaus, we know it takes much more than just a roof over someone’s head to help them overcome homelessness. That’s why we provide meaningful work in our social enterprise and continue to look for ways to offer exciting opportunities for learning new skills.

“We don’t just support people for a few weeks, or even a few months. There is no time limit at Emmaus and when someone comes to live with us, they make it their home until they are ready to live independently. This project was suggested by the people we support as a way that they can learn something new, but also because they wanted to be able to create metal goods to sell in our shops to raise money for the place they call home.”

As part of the project, Emmaus will be working with local artist Leigh Dyer, who is a sculptor specialising in stainless steel metal. Leigh will train residents in the ancient art of blacksmithing, as well as collaboratively designing a sculpture for next year’s Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail.

The charity is looking to raise approximately £14,000 through the social tech start-up platform, Alice, which freezes donations until charities can prove they have achieved their set goals. This means that when someone gives to the Emmaus project through Alice, their donation is guaranteed to make an impact, or they get their money back.

Emmaus has set goals for The Orchard Forge project and donations will go towards training Emmaus residents, building the forge, equipping the area with tools and workbenches, and creating the sculpture.

Photos courtesy of Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney