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Emmaus to open charity shop in Ipswich's Sailmakers Shopping Centre

PUBLISHED: 22:43 14 April 2017 | UPDATED: 22:43 14 April 2017

Michael Houghton and Gill Dibben at The Dales. PICTURE: James Fletcher Photography Ltd

Michael Houghton and Gill Dibben at The Dales. PICTURE: James Fletcher Photography Ltd

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A charity which helps long-term unemployed and homeless people rebuild their lives is expanding its trade in Ipswich.

Michael Houghton at The Dales, run by Emmaus Ipswich. PICTURE: James Fletcher Photography LtdMichael Houghton at The Dales, run by Emmaus Ipswich. PICTURE: James Fletcher Photography Ltd

Emmaus, which already runs a shop in the town at The Dales, is opening a new store in Sailmakers Shopping Centre on Saturday, April 29.

It will sell donated clothes and jewellery and will be officially unveiled by Ipswich mayor, Roger Fern.

The charity gives work opportunities and experience to the town’s jobless, including 57-year-old Michael Houghton.

Mr Houghton said he had rediscovered his confidence and self-worth volunteering at The Dales.

He added: “Working with Emmaus has definitely given me a new lease of life. I meet new people all the time, I’m getting some good retail experience and it generally gives me a new string to my bow.

“I’m still looking for work and hopefully this will help me to be a bit more successful.

“It’s good to know that after supporting me like it has Emmaus is about to open a second shop at Sailmakers to help even more people.”

Mr Houghton lost his temporary labouring job around a year ago and has been unable to find work since.

He said: “Late last year I sent out 60 job applications and only received three replies and even then didn’t manage to get anything. It’s been absolutely soul destroying.”

Gill Dibben, manager at The Dales, said: “Michael is a good all-round worker and great multi-tasker.”

Emmaus opened its first shop in Ipswich in February last year and it has since taken in 60 volunteers, 10 of whom have gone on to find full-time employment.

Claire Staddon, operations manager for Emmaus Ipswich, said: “We decided to open our second shop at Sailmakers Shopping Centre because there’s still a great need in Ipswich for homeless and unemployed people to get this kind of start and we’re lucky to have been given a high-profile location there.”

The Sailmakers shop will be open five days a week, Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am until 4.30pm.

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