A charity which has created a house for homeless people in South Tyneside has appointed its first manager.
John Harrison will be working as a community manager for Emmaus North East, which is transforming a former children’s home in Stanhope Road, South Shields.
When completed, the house, which had been left to deteriorate, will house 15 previously homeless people and support them on the road to independent living,
John will be responsible for residency and social enterprise.
Prior to joining the organisation John worked for a charity in Liberia conducting school feeding, and before that for a cause in Malawi on community development projects.
He said: “It has been quite a change coming back home, although we at Emmaus North East have plenty of work to do so we can get a community and social enterprise up and running in South Tyneside.
“I was attracted to the work of Emmaus after learning about the emphasis that is placed on community living, solidarity and equality, with a strong vision that everyone has a home and a sense of belonging.
“In our own communities people can very easily slip through the cracks and end up homeless with limited opportunities, leaving them feeling valueless.
“Having seen the power of communities across the world, I believe that they can offer support to the most vulnerable and allow people to see they are not alone and are part of a wider group than they sometimes realise.
“The people of South Tyneside have been exceptionally supportive and I am very much looking forward to working with the local community so we can create an inclusive and supportive community that helps people move forward with their lives and is an asset to the local area.”
The home is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, with the first ‘companions’ arriving in the New Year.
It was hoped that work would be finished sooner but delays have caused due to building issues.