Formerly homeless people at Emmaus Leeds celebrate kindness for mental health awareness week

A group of formerly homeless people supported by Emmaus Leeds celebrated the value of community kindness as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) ran from Monday, May 18 to Sunday 24. This year’s theme focused on the power and potential of ‘kindness’. Being part of both an Emmaus community and the local Leeds community gives beneficiaries of the charity an opportunity to make new friends, get involved in positive activities and contribute to wider society.

Simon Pilling, one of the formerly homeless people supported by Emmaus Leeds, said: “Before joining Emmaus Leeds I spent two years going bankrupt, which was incredibly tough. I lost my business, my house, my car – I lost everything. When you’ve had your own home and life, becoming homeless means you have to become reliant on the benevolence of other people. At Emmaus it’s not seen as that – you come in as an equal, you work and contribute to the best of your ability and you’re valued as an individual. The support network of Emmaus helps you look to the future and start again.”

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Emmaus Leeds supports 26 formerly homeless people by providing them with a home, support, training and work in a community setting. The charity runs a social enterprise, selling donated furniture, household goods, clothes and vintage wares.

Donald Forrester, Chief Executive, said: “Here at Emmaus Leeds we encourage people to be kind to themselves, be kind to the community of people around them and carry out acts of kindness in the local area.