Appeal to help turn ex Norfolk convent into B&B
A Norfolk homelessness charity is appealing for £500k to repair the roof of the former All Hallows Convent and begin renovating it into a unique B&B accommodation to provide funds to support its growing community of companions.
A Norfolk homelessness charity is appealing for 500k to repair the roof of the former All Hallows Convent and begin renovating the Convent into a unique B&B accommodation.
Last year, Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney received planning permission to transform 23 historic nuns’ bedrooms in the former All Hallows convent, in South Norfolk where the charity is based, into a unique B&B.
Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney supports up to 32 residents who have previously been homeless by providing a home and community for as long as needed. While living with Emmaus, residents, known as companions, receive meaningful work and training opportunities in the organisation’s social enterprise businesses to boost their self-esteem and self-worth. Emmaus provides the space and support residents need to take stock of their lives and make positive changes for the future.
The B&B, which will open to the public in 2024, will be a new social enterprise for the organisation and comes as the result of companions requesting more tangible work experience in hospitality.
Along with providing more experience for companions, the B&B will increase the charity's revenue allowing Emmaus to support even more vulnerable homeless people. When guests book a room, the annual income from one room will pay for and provide a home in Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney’s community for one whole year.
The All Hallows Convent has a rich history and was used by the sisters of All Hallows from 1859 until 2018. Previously the convent had been used as a House of Mercy in the 1800s to support ‘fallen women’, and in later years it was used as a refuge, hospital, a school, and nursery.
In June last year, the site received grade II listed status by Historic England and Emmaus will sympathetically restore and breathe new life into this historic building, protecting, and prolonging its legacy.
Cecile Roberts, CEO of Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney said: “We’re delighted to be beginning this exciting project. The benefits that this new social enterprise will bring to our charity and our residents will be transformative. We continually strive to give our companions more opportunities and experiences to help them out of homelessness and the B&B will do just that.
“The nuns’ bedrooms are smaller than the requirements for multiple-occupant housing for companions so we thought the space would be perfect for short-stay accommodation for those exploring the beautiful Norfolk and Suffolk countryside on nearby walking and cycling trails.
“We have also obtained planning permission to completely restore the building, including a new roof, windows, chimney and required internal repairs, effectively preserving a heritage building for all to enjoy.
“The Sisters of All Hallows have been incredibly generous in allowing us to call this home. At the heart of the project is to ensure the All Hallows legacy lives on.”
Sister Shelia, of All Hallows Community, said: “It has been wonderful to see how Emmaus have used the community buildings. It is so good to sit and have a really good coffee in a space which was originally a dining room before becoming a library, or to go bargain hunting in the one-time playroom and subsequent chapel. Clergy house, junior school and retreat house… the place has touched many lives over the years, and we should like to wish Emmaus all the very best as this latest development moves forward.”
Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney are appealing for investment, in the development of this new social enterprise. Emmaus offers a unique, local, and high-impact opportunity to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to enhance the community it serves.
You can learn more about the project and donate here.
Pictured above is the former All Hallows Convent and what the news B&B bedrooms will look like.