On Friday 10 May, we welcomed Labour’s Shadow Minster for Climate Change and Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy, to Emmaus Bristol to showcase the social and environmental impact our charity has.

The MP met with our Chief Executive Jessica Hodge for a tour of our Stokes Croft site, including our second-hand shop, eco holiday pods, warehouse, eBay office, and recycling yard.

During the tour, Ms McCarthy heard about the accommodation and support we provide to formerly homeless people along with the training and work opportunities we offer in our social enterprises, which also promote reuse and sustainability through the collection and sale of donated items.

“It was lovely to welcome Kerry to Emmaus Bristol to showcase our environmental work. Kerry took our e-cargo bike for a spin and we toured the warehouse to see the sorting, selling and upcycling that goes on there.

We were also proud to demonstrate the importance of providing supported housing in a person-centred way so that support can be tailored to the individual, helping them to move on in a secure way when they are ready.”

Jessica Hodge, Chief Executive of Emmaus Bristol

Ms McCarthy had a chance to test out our e-cargo bike as we toured around. Our team uses the bike to take eBay purchases to the post office, and our Online & Retail Manager Julian was on hand to show Ms McCarthy with the bike.

In our warehouse, Ms McCarthy met with Emmaus Bristol resident Abdurrahman and spoke about his recent upcycling work. Commenting on meeting Ms McCarthy, Abdurrahman said:

“I showed Kerry a bench I’ve been upcycling and will soon paint red. It was a good feeling showing an MP something I’ve made. I also got to tell her about the carpentry course I’m doing with some of the other companions.”

Abdurrahman, resident at Emmaus Bristol

Supported Housing Act

Emmaus UK’s Policy, Campaigns and External Affairs Manager Sam Dalton was also in attendance, and together with Jessica, spoke to Ms McCarthy about the work Emmaus is doing to help shape the implementation of the government’s Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act.

The Act went through Parliament in August 2023 and is all about trying to raise standards and quality in different types of supported housing, including homelessness accommodation.

Commenting on the Supported Housing Act discussion, Sam said:

“It was great to speak with Kerry about the important role of the Supported Housing Act in bringing in national standards, and how we can assist this work at Emmaus. With 30 different communities in all corners of the country, we stand ready to help Parliament make the implementation of the Act as effective as possible.” 

Sam Dalton, Emmaus UK Campaigns and External Affairs Manager

Jessica further said:

“Here at Emmaus Bristol, we welcome regulation to raise standards in supported housing as we already deliver supported housing to a very high standard, but we are aware that some in the sector do not. However, with regulation comes expense that will need to be properly funded otherwise it will affect our ability to support people out of homelessness.”

Jessica Hodge, Chief Executive of Emmaus Bristol

Ms McCarthy was first elected to represent Bristol East in Parliament in 2004 and was re-elected in 2010, 2015, 2017, and 2019, making her the longest-serving of Bristol’s current MPs. As Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Ms McCarthy is working on Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan, international climate change, and issues including the circular economy, green finance, energy bills and nature-based solutions.

Commenting on her visit to Emmaus Bristol, Ms McCarthy said:

“It was great to visit Emmaus and see first-hand the excellent work they do, as well as meeting some of their companions. Given the scale of Bristol’s housing crisis, the role they play in helping vulnerable people find homes and live independently is vital. It’s also good to see how important sustainability is to Emmaus, encouraging reuse and refurbishment, and training people in the skills we need in the circular economy.”

Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Labour MP Kerry McCarthy

To find out more about the work Emmaus is doing on the Supported Housing Act, visit here.

To shop, donate or learn more about Emmaus Bristol, visit our Stokes Croft or Bedminster shops.