Community members at Emmaus Salford are using the unseasonably mild winter to prepare the grounds for food growing in 2016.

The Emmaus House community building on Fitzwarren Street is surrounded by green space that is now being put to good use. A group of companions – formerly homeless people who live and work at Emmaus Salford – are working together to build planters, growing areas and herb gardens.

Emmaus Salford supports formerly homeless people by offering a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise, and an opportunity to get back on their feet again. The charity is currently supporting 14 formerly homeless people but this will rise to 28 over the next two years.

The community is aiming to grow fresh food and herbs that can be used in their communal kitchen. Emmaus Salford’s gardening project has had support from local businesses and organisations including Keepmoat and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Julie Ferns, Community Engagement Coordinator at Keepmoat, said: “We are aware of the impacts homelessness can have – not just on the individual, but also the families, friends and wider community. Being a part of the Emmaus Salford’s gardening project has allowed us to witness the positive changes this will have on those involved. More companies need to look at backing initiatives like these which are addressing the growing homelessness problem in parts of Salford and Manchester and are helping local people rebuild their lives.”

Emmaus Salford runs two social enterprises on Seaford Road and Fitzwarren Street, selling donated and upcycled furniture, household goods and vintage wares. Money generated helps to support formerly homeless people who live and work at Emmaus Salford.

Simon Locke, Community Leader at Emmaus Salford, said: “Our green space is really important to us and we have big plans for chickens, micro-pigs and other small beasties in addition to food growing. Since Jed joined the community he has led on this project and is taking it forward leaps and bounds. Watch this green space!”