Homelessness charity Emmaus Ipswich opens shop in The Dales pub

A new Emmaus shop will be opening at the former Dales Public House in Ipswich.
L-R Claire Staddon,

A new Emmaus shop will be opening at the former Dales Public House in Ipswich. L-R Claire Staddon, Gill Dibben, Mandy Muhs. - Credit: Archant

A charity that supports homeless people in Ipswich is opening a retail store in a former pub.

Emmaus Ipswich has taken over The Dales pub and will sell donated clothes and furniture in a bid to raise enough money to develop a community home in the town for people who are sleeping rough.

Those who seek support from Emmaus Ipswich will also be fed and offered a chance to work at the shop in return for a small weekly allowance to help them rebuild their lives.

Shop retail manager, Gill Dibben, 49, said: “We can offer something more long term by getting them new skills and breaking that circle of whatever had caused their homelessness and point them in the right direction to get help for any issues they may have as a result of that.

“This a great project to be involved in and I really believe in the ethos behind the charity.”

A short campaign was run by one of the former licence-holders of The Dales pub when landowners, East of England Co-op, issued a letter of notice in July last year due to tenancy issues.

With last minute refurbishment work underway, the shop is going to keep the original Tolly Cobbold beer pumps but the rest of the pub equipment will be sold. The site also has a large, overgrown garden which Mrs Dibben said could be used as a community project in the future to grow fruit and vegetables.

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Volunteers at the shop will ‘upcycle’ donated items where they can, which means to upgrade or redecorate the item to make it a higher value or more appealing to the buyer.

“I think we have got an unique selling point against other charities in that we have an upcycling opportunity on site and the potential to do so much more with the space,” added Mrs Dibben, who worked as a shop manager for mental health charity, MIND, for 14 years.

The new shop, located in Dales Road, will only be used as a retail space and not as an accommodation.

It will open to members of the pubic on Monday and it will be officially launched by Emmaus UK president, Terry Waite CBE, on May 14.

Emmaus Ipswich is appealing for donations of clothes, furniture and decorating equipment for the shop, and is also in need of volunteers.

Anyone who can help can call 01473 225627 or drop into the shop between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.

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