We are delighted to start 2021 with a £57,000 boost from Oxfordshire Freemasons to help people who have been homeless move into permanent homes.

Emmaus Oxford’s Resettlement Support Fund is available to former rough sleepers in temporary accommodation across Oxfordshire. It will help them to furnish and equip more permanent homes and in so doing help them to move on with their lives for the better. Emmaus Oxford will provide packages of furniture and household goods from just a few items to everything needed to equip a home, all free of charge to the client.

We’re inviting all agencies across Oxfordshire who are supporting rough sleepers to apply for this support from today. You can find out more about the Resettlement Support Fund and make an application here.

Emmaus Oxford are tremendously grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for making this project possible. Funded entirely by Freemasons and their families, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Having donated £1m between April and July in 2020 to help those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, Freemasons are now focusing on protecting the homeless, with a new series of donations in England and Wales, totalling £850,000.

Eddie Blaze, Chief Executive at Emmaus Oxford, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, Emmaus Oxford has seen more demand for our homelessness services whilst income from our charity store dropped significantly. As the year begins with a new national lockdown and we have once again closed our store, this exceptionally generous grant is more important to us than ever.

“We will be using the grant to launch and run our Resettlement Support Fund to give homeless people in Oxford the items they need to furnish permanent homes, helping to minimise stress when taking the next step in rebuilding their lives. On behalf of everyone at Emmaus Oxford, I would like to say a huge thank you to Oxfordshire Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Fund.”

Emmaus communities in 12 locations across the UK, including the Emmaus in Cowley, Oxford, are among the organisations being prioritised by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), which is the governing body for Freemasons in England and Wales.

The funds raised by Freemasons will help provide safe living conditions, healthcare, meals, and employment opportunities for the homeless; as well as helping protect them from the winter weather, which kills hundreds of homeless people every year. In addition, Freemasons will be volunteering their time at 26 homeless support organisations.

Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of UGLE, said: “We are expecting a harsh winter this year and so it’s essential to protect and support the homeless. Hundreds die every year on our streets during the winter, which is a shocking statistic, and due to the pandemic, many vulnerable people have found themselves on the streets for the first time.

“In this second phase of donations, following our initial contributions during the COVID-19 crisis, we have donated the largest part of the funding towards helping the homeless. We hope this will provide those in need with somewhere safe to stay during winter but also offer them more long-term help to get off the streets and into secure accommodation.”