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Chief Executive

Emmaus UK

This is an outstanding opportunity to build a stronger and more effective national charity, supporting its members to transform the lives of people experiencing homelessness and social exclusion.

  • Location: Home based with considerable travel around the UK and to the Central Office in Birmingham. Some international travel.
  • Salary: c.£85,000 + benefits

About the role

We are a UK-wide federated charity, founded on the ethos of solidarity and supporting people to work their way out of homelessness through providing a stable home, meaningful work, training and support. We are also part of a wider Emmaus International movement, acting against poverty and exclusion, spread over four continents, all sharing the values of welcoming, solidarity, openness, respect and sharing.

Our distinctive approach now supports more than 850 people – our companions. Our communities and companions are at the heart of everything we do. These 34 communities and groups across the UK each respond to the needs of their local area. They give people the opportunity to take stock of their lives, deal with issues they may have and offer work in our social enterprises, enabling companions to support themselves and one another.

Our next Chief Executive will be joining us at a pivotal time. Currently celebrating our 30th Anniversary, we have embarked on our next strategy and are now looking for someone who can bring the energy and dynamism to drive this forward and shape our organisation so it is fit for the future.

Working with, and alongside, our communities and companions we want to develop and diversify our social enterprise model, amplify our voice and influence, work smarter and improve our impact; ultimately we want to help more people. There is huge scope to build on our impact to date, but this requires a very special leader. We want someone who is aligned to our values, has social purpose in their DNA, and the ability to lead and deliver socially transformative results, whilst working with and alongside multiple stakeholders.

Who we are looking for

You will have substantial leadership experience in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment working with homelessness or other socially excluded and vulnerable people. Adept at navigating and reconciling diverse interests and contrary views, your track record will demonstrate your ability to unify people around common aims and be a catalyst for positive change. You will be a leader who can empower and galvanise your team with a style that is collaborative, inclusive and involving. You will bring a strong commercial acumen and proven experience in growing and developing new business models, preferably with an understanding of social enterprise.

We have enormous scope to develop our voice, impact and influence. We are looking for an individual who has a track record in operating as an impactful and credible ambassador and can convey messages persuasively, with clarity and conviction.

This is a wonderful role to take Emmaus UK onto the next level. We want to attract leaders who are brave, curious and bold, are solution focused and forward thinking and genuinely excited by the prospect of reaching our further potential.

Contact information

If you think this describes you then please get in touch:

Philippa Fabry | philippa@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07772 902071

Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935 068

Closing date for applications: 9am, Tuesday 4th May 2021

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Philippa Fabry

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A welcome message from Sue Taylor, Chair

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for showing an interest in working for Emmaus UK. This is an exciting time to be joining our team as we move on from the challenges of the pandemic and use our new strategic plan to build a stronger and more effective Emmaus federation in the UK.

As Emmaus UK’s Chief Executive, you’ll be responsible for leading Emmaus UK, which supports 34 member organisations in the UK. The work Emmaus UK does enables our members to thrive – offering a home, meaningful work and a sense of purpose to people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.

We think Emmaus offers something pretty special and as we celebrate our 30th anniversary in the UK, our commitment to making a difference to the lives of others remains our top priority.

The team at Emmaus UK support members to realise the key aims of our federation-wide strategic plan; focusing on helping more people, finding smarter ways of working and shouting louder about what we do and how we make a difference. We also bring the federation together, amplifying their voice and making our impact bigger than the sum of our individual communities.

Working in a federated structure means it is essential our Chief Executive is able to build strong relationships and networks with colleagues across the federation. Emmaus UK is not a “head office”, it is a central support hub that aims to maximise the impact Emmaus has in the UK. We can only do that with the support of our members, who we must engage and inspire.

This role will involve travelling to visit Emmaus communities and groups across the UK, and occasionally in other parts of the world, where you will get to experience, first-hand, some of the inspirational work that goes on in our communities and meet the people whose lives have been changed.

Despite the challenges of the past year, Emmaus UK remains in a strong financial position and the new Chief Executive will have the full support of myself and the board to realise their ambitions for the organisation.

The work Emmaus does in the UK is hugely rewarding and stimulating – we are passionate about the work the federation does and we hope you will be too.

Emmaus UK is a secular organisation, committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and welcomes applicants from all backgrounds.

Yours sincerely,

Sue Taylor

A welcome message from Terry Waite, Emmaus UK President

Emmaus is not just another organisation helping people to overcome homelessness, it is a way of life that equips people to help themselves by helping others. It is a community that believes that all men and women, regardless of their past, have worth as individuals and a contribution to make to this needy world.

This requires a special type of leadership, someone who is able to take risks and who has the ability to draw out the good that is in every human being. I have been proud to work with a number of remarkable people at Emmaus over the past 30 years and I look forward to continuing to see this great organisation develop.

Terry Waite

What we do

Emmaus is a homelessness charity with a difference. We don’t just give people a bed for the night; we offer a home, meaningful work and a sense of belonging.

For many people who have experienced homelessness, losing their self-esteem can be the most damaging part of their experience. Being on your own, with no support around you can be soul destroying, leaving you feeling worthless.

Finding your way out of that situation isn’t easy, particularly when the only options available are temporary fixes, offering a bed for the night but little to occupy your days.

Emmaus is different because it provides a home for as long as someone needs it, in an Emmaus community. This gives people the opportunity to take stock of their lives, deal with any issues they might have, and often re-establish relationships with loved ones.

Watch us on BBC One’s Morning Live here.

“Companion” is the name given to those who live in an Emmaus community and work in the social enterprise, where they support themselves and one another. There are currently over 850 companions living at 29 Emmaus communities across the UK.

Rather than relying on benefits, Emmaus uses social enterprise to generate revenue that pays for companions’ home, food and upkeep, as well as providing a small weekly allowance. This is key to restoring feelings of self-worth, showing companions that their actions make a real difference, both to their own life, and the lives of others.


Emmaus Companion Stories

“Since leaving Emmaus, I have passed all my medical exams and have applied to register with the General Medical Council so I can work as a doctor in the UK.

I will always be proud to have been an Emmaus companion.”


“I have struggled with alcohol for over thirty years, but Emmaus organised getting me on a drug and alcohol programme. I am now clean and sober for more than a year. 

The environment of Emmaus is amazing. The staff and other companions are extremely supportive which has been so good for me. Every week I’m in an environment with other people trying to do the same as me, it feels safe, and everyone is honest and open.”


“When I moved to Emmaus my support worker told me; ‘Emmaus is what you make it’ and that line has stuck with me throughout. 

I’ve always done things by myself and in the past when things got hard, I’ve pushed people away. When I came to Emmaus, knowing that the support team is there was a big helping hand. You just have to be open and accept the help that is genuine.”


“I had the chance to spend three weeks helping at the Emmaus in Togo, Africa. The people were very friendly and welcoming. Unlike in the UK where the focus of Emmaus’s work is on homelessness, Emmaus Togo works to provide education for local children.

I brought gifts from Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire with me and handed them out at the school. They were particularly pleased with the stationery and sports equipment. It was an amazing experience and I’d like to thank the Emmaus UK Companion Training Fund for helping to pay for the trip.”


“Coming to Emmaus has opened so many opportunities for me. I’ve been supported to get many qualifications over the years but I’m most proud that I now have a diploma in Special Needs Education and am working to complete a course on Children and Young People’s Mental Health. I plan to start another soon, to learn more about children’s cognitive behaviour. All my training has been paid for by the Emmaus UK Companion Training Fund.”


Our Values

About Emmaus UK

Emmaus is a federation of 34 independent charities supporting more than 800 formerly homeless people across the UK.

Emmaus UK is the federal body which supports these 34 charities in the UK, by providing training, guidance, funding and centralised services. The role of Emmaus UK is to bring members together and make our impact more than the sum of our individual communities.

The Emmaus UK team is divided into four functions, each headed up by a member of the senior management team:

Federation Support – Provide support with anything to do with the day to day running of a community. This team also deals with policy issues, crisis support, training and joint procurement of services.

Business Development – Offer specific advice on business related matters. They also look after monitoring and evaluation and the grant and loan funds.

Communications & Fundraising – Promote and fundraise for Emmaus UK and also offer support to member organisations in these areas.

Finance & Admin – Provide admin, finance and HR support to the Emmaus UK team. Also administer the referral gateway service for Emmaus communities, helping to get people access to the support they need.

Emmaus UK is also the representative of Emmaus International in the UK and works as the national body to co-ordinate and develop the UK Emmaus activities.

Our Strategic Plan

In 2020 the federation of Emmaus charities in the UK developed a new strategic plan. This plan sets out what the federation hopes to achieve between 2020 and 2025.

Our ambition

By 2025:

  • We will provide a home for 1,100 people.
  • We will be 75% self-funded through companion driven social enterprises.
  • More than 95% of companions will describe Emmaus as a positive experience.
  • We will support 100,000 people each year through acts of solidarity.
  • We will have reduced our carbon footprint and will be actively working to improve our environmental impact.

Our strategic plan

We will help more people by:

  • Delivering a wider range of activities to address social exclusion
  • Creating more homes
  • Developing a range of employment and move-on housing options

We will work smarter by:

  • Improving our processes and making better use of technology
  • Developing and growing our social enterprises
  • Actively seeking opportunities to improve our environmental impact

We will shout louder about:

  • What we do and how we make a difference

History of Emmaus

Where it all started

Emmaus was set up in Paris in 1949 by Father Henri-Antoine Grouès, better known as Abbé Pierre. He was an MP, Catholic priest and former member of the French Resistance who fought to provide homes for those who lived on the streets of Paris.

One night, a man called Georges was brought to Abbé Pierre after a failed suicide attempt. Rather than offer him help Abbé Pierre asked Georges to help him, building houses for the homeless mothers who came looking for his support. Georges later said:

“Whatever else he might have given me – money, home, somewhere to work – I’d have still tried to kill myself again. What I was missing, and what he offered, was something to live for.”

Georges was the first Emmaus companion in what would become a worldwide movement tackling poverty and injustice.

Emmaus was brought to the UK in 1989 when a man called Selwyn Image was volunteering in a soup kitchen and got into a discussion with one of the homeless men he was serving. He asked the man what he wanted and the man responded: “I would have thought that would have been obvious to an intelligent man like you. I want somewhere where I can work, where I feel I belong, and where I can recover my self-respect.”

Then, in a sentence that would change Selwyn’s life forever, the man said: “And what are you going to do about it?”

Selwyn remembered some work experience he had done as a student 30 years previously in Paris. Not knowing if Emmaus even still existed, the next day Selwyn went to the library and picked up a Paris phone book. He managed to reach Abbé Pierre, told him he would like to open an Emmaus community in Cambridge, and Emmaus in the UK was born.

Emmaus across the world

An international movement

Emmaus is an International movement made up of c. 420 groups (which can have a community home, or be different types of community or social enterprise) in 41 countries.

It operates across four regions: Emmaus Africa, Emmaus Americas, Emmaus Asia, and Emmaus Europe – of which, the Emmaus UK federation is a part, as is Emmaus France, Emmaus Spain etc.

Each Emmaus group is an independent local organisation. Wherever they are in the world, Emmaus organisations almost always grow from initiatives set up by local people, in response to local needs, using local resources and expertise.

Groups share the values of Abbé Pierre – offering an unconditional welcome, sharing resources, respecting differences and working in solidarity with those who are suffering the most in order to help them regain their dignity.

Being part of the Emmaus International organisation offers companions and staff from the UK the opportunity to get involved with projects all over the world. This helps not only individual personal development, but also fosters knowledge-exchange between groups around social enterprise skills, contribution to sustainability, community growth and reach to those suffering social exclusion.

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    If you would like to have an informal conversation about this opportunity you can contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    To apply, please submit a CV and a supporting statement (a maximum of two sides of A4). The supporting statement should clearly outline your suitability against the essential criteria in the person specification with an explanation why the role is of interest and relevant to you.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Chief Executive – Emmaus” into the subject field.

    We will send an acknowledgement email within three working days from receipt. If you have not received a response, please check your application has been received by contacting:


    Emmaus is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We celebrate diversity and applications are actively encouraged from individuals from diverse backgrounds.

    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief. All applications will be considered solely on merit.

    Disabled applicants are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process, to discuss steps that can be taken to overcome any operational difficulties.


    Please take note of the interview dates and please let us know if any dates are difficult for you.

    Closing date: 9am, Tuesday 4th May 2021
    Longlisting: Friday 7th May 2021
    Interviews: Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th May
    Shortlisting: Tuesday 18th May 2021
    Community visit: Thursday 20th or Friday 21st May 2021
    Final interviews: Wednesday 26th & Friday 28th May 2021

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

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