Join the Emmaus Bristol Uprising of Kindness campaign and support BOSH with your donations.

This month, we are marking the 70th anniversary of the Uprising of Kindness – a key moment in the Emmaus movement when our founder Abbé Pierre appealed to the French public for solidarity and donations after a homeless woman and baby froze to death. Abbé Pierre’s radio appeal on 1 February 1954 prompted a huge outpouring of support and kickstarted the Emmaus movement, where there are now over 400 Emmaus groups across the world.

In the spirit of the Uprising of Kindness, we are extending a hand to support Bristol Outreach Services for the Homeless (BOSH) by appealing for items to donate to the charity. Like Emmaus Bristol, BOSH believes that everyone deserves a home and the chance to rebuild their lives.

As part of this campaign, we are appealing for your generosity in donating items that will make a meaningful impact on the lives of those facing homelessness.

We are seeking donations of the following items on behalf of BOSH:

  • Sanitary products
  • Makeup (unused)
  • Small tents
  • Backpacks
  • Clothing (all genders)
  • Books
  • Art supplies
  • Stationary
  • Toiletries

Drop-off Locations

You can drop off your donations at our shops located in Stokes Croft and Bedminster during opening hours – Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4:30pm (11am on Tuesdays). Your small act of kindness can go a long way in providing comfort and support to those in need.

About Bosh

BOSH operates as a central base for survival on the streets and facilitates the transition off them too. The charity delivers an outreach service, providing the basic items for survival on the streets, plus anything else they can provide to make people’s lives more comfortable whilst they are waiting for accommodation. BOSH’s Homeless Hub HQ offers a variety of specialised programmes and services to help homeless people transition off the streets, including access to the internet, housing and benefit support, phone charging points, computer literacy support, breakfast and lunch, art classes, literacy lessons, tenancy support, and much more.

About The Uprising of Kindness

Outraged by the inaction of the authorities in the face of a severe humanitarian crisis tied to inadequate housing in France and deeply moved by the suffering of so many people, Abbé Pierre launched an appeal on 1 February 1954. This brought about a huge uprising of solidarity and a long-awaited political response to the housing crisis.

At the end of 1953, there were officially 7 million people in France living in substandard housing. In response to this, Abbé Pierre wanted to start a construction project to build emergency housing. His friend who was an MP introduced and supported a bill to allocate one billion francs from the budget to emergency housing. The Parliament at the time adjourned the amendment indefinitely.

Abbé Pierre heard about this at the same time as he learned that on 3 January 1954, a baby froze to death in an old bus at an emergency housing site. He wrote an open letter to the Minister for Housing, who attended the baby’s funeral, which Abbé Pierre described as a “funeral of national shame”.

While eviction orders were increasing, Abbé Pierre and his ragpickers took to the streets of Paris to give out blankets, soup and coffee to people sleeping rough. He also launched the “100-franc note” campaign on Radio Luxembourg saying “I am told that there are ten million listeners. If everyone gave one hundred francs […] without depriving them of a single gram of butter on their bread! Just think how much that would be!” In the space of four days, this amounted to over one million 100-franc notes. On 31 January, the first solidarity centre to distribute emergency supplies to homeless people was opened, followed by a second shortly after.

Despite these efforts, on 1 February 1954, Abbé Pierre heard about the death of a woman, who had frozen on the streets after being evicted from her home the previous night. He made another appeal on Radio Luxembourg, which resulted in an enormous outpouring of solidarity from the French people, now known as ‘The Uprising of Kindness’. Donations of money and items flooded in and even Charlie Chaplin donated 2 million francs. The Government followed suit and three days after the appeal, freed up 10 billion francs for the construction of 10,000 emergency homes and approved a law forbidding evictions during the winter.

The Uprising of Kindness today

Today, the Uprising of Kindness lives on through the solidarity efforts of Emmaus Bristol and other Emmaus communities across the world. With recent Shelter research estimating that 1 in 182 people in England are homeless, with over 3,000 people sleeping rough on any given night, 249,400 people living in temporary accommodation and 20,000 people in hostels or supported accommodation, solidarity and action is more important than ever. .Just as Charlie Chaplin and others rallied to donate during the original Uprising of Kindness campaign, you can contribute to our modern-day appeal to support BOSH and uphold the spirit of compassion and kindness.

Join Emmaus Bristol in the Uprising of Kindness by contributing to BOSH. Your donations, no matter how big or small, can bring comfort and hope to those experiencing homelessness. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those in need and continue the legacy of kindness that began with Abbé Pierre and his simple call for solidarity.