A HOMELESSNESS charity has secured a grant of almost £100,000 to help provide accommodation and support for its members.

Emmaus Colchester has received £99,852 from the National Lottery Community Fund as part of the organisation’s emergency support package to help groups deal with the impacts of Covid-19.

The cash is a welcome relief for the life-changing charity, with finances extremely strained during the pandemic.

Denise King, Chief Executive Officer of Emmaus Colchester, said: “Our business model means as a charity we are normally self-sufficient, but during lockdown we have not received the level of income which enables us to cover our accommodation, food and support costs.

“This award means we are able to continue to provide emotional and practical help to our companions, giving them the opportunity to gain new skills and move on when they are ready.

“We are grateful to the National Lottery as it means we can secure our home. Thanks to the Government for making this happen.”

With its stores closed for several months during the pandemic, Emmaus Colchester was forced to look for new ways to bring in income.

To bring in much-needed cash, the charity’s tech-savvy staff moved to selling items over Instagram earlier this year, leading to an exponential jump in online sales.

Ms King said the charity had been blown away by the support from customers during the lockdown period.

She added: “While we are not out of the woods yet, I would like to personally thank all of our customers who have supported us during the lockdown and who have returned to our shops since they’ve reopened.

“I’d like to reassure everyone we are taking the necessary measures to ensure our shops remain Covid secure.”

Emmaus Colchester’s members work with the charity’s social enterprise selling second-hand furniture from its town centre shops.

The charity’s flagship Home Shop, in High Street, is undergoing a full refurbishment, with seven new rooms for companions set to be created above.

Visit emmaus.org.uk/colchester.