A Sheffield homeless charity has launched a £1.7 million campaign to preserve a city heritage site in the hope of extending its services.
Emmaus Sheffield is based in the historic Sipelia Works, a former cutlery factory close to the city’s Canal Basin.
The Grade II listed building is one of the last surviving 19th century cutlery factory sites in Sheffield.
The charity, which provides a working community of previously homeless people with self-contained accommodation, training facilities and workspace, is now planning to refurbish the building in order to create further accommodation.
Manager Graham Bostock said: “We are working all the time to raise the £312,000 we need annually to continue providing our full range of services. We have extremely popular second hand, vintage and furniture stores and also provide gardening and grounds maintenance, which guarantees that our work can continue.
“These business streams are well established but if we are to expand and develop, we need to utilise all the space we have here and that means a major investment.”
Architects anticipate a full programme of refurbishment and conversion is needed at the site, including repairing a number of existing structural problems, before the accommodation, working space and meeting rooms can be created.
The charity aims to provide meaningful work for beneficiaries and enable the people it supports – known as companions - to eventually become self-supporting once more.
The charity currently has space for 13 companions and wants to raise that number to 17.
Graham added: “The site has the potential to become not just the home of Emmaus for many years to come, but also a space for public use. Obviously we have a funding campaign that continues all the time but, for this next phase, it would be great to get the people of Sheffield behind us.
“The whole ethos of Emmaus is about encouraging the companions to support themselves and make this an entirely self-sufficient organisation, but we do need some help with such a large amount of money to be raised and we’d be happy to talk to anybody who is interested in supporting us and fundraising in any way at all.
“We have already done a great deal to secure the future of this historic building, but now we need that extra support that will help protect this site for many generations to come.”
n Anybody interested in supporting the Emmaus Sheffield campaign can contact Graham on 0114 272 0667 or visit Emmaus Sheffield for information.