Preston charity features in a new film nominated for an international award

Posted on - 18th December, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Proud Preston
Karen Wallis, Head of Support at Emmaus.
Karen Wallis, Head of Support at Emmaus. Pic: Emmaus Preston

A film featuring two people from homelessness charity Emmaus Preston has been nominated for an award at the ‘Oscars’ of charity film.


‘An Introduction to Emmaus North West’ highlights the work of Emmaus Preston and other Emmaus communities across the region.

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The charity is appealing for votes, so the film can make the final shortlist for The Smiley Charity Film Awards, the world’s biggest campaign to promote cause-based films.

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Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Buchanan took part in the film alongside Head of Support, Karen Wallis who joined Emmaus Preston in 2012 after spending 15 years homeless and in temporary accommodation.


Karen rebuilt her life, progressing through several training courses, which resulted in her gaining a support worker role in 2015. Now Karen is Head of Support and manages Emmaus staff across the whole of Lancashire.

During her time with Emmaus, Karen has been to the Houses of Parliament and Downing Street to lobby Lords and MPs to call for better support for people who want to break the cycle they are in. She also married Dave and now lives with him outside of the community. 

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Karen said: “I felt it was important to share what happened to me in this film to show how support from Emmaus turns lives around. Life went from being unbearable, to me wanting to be alive and have a purpose. My husband Dave and I often think about how lucky we are to have a place of our own. Now I’m working in support, I use my experiences of homelessness to help other people at Emmaus. 

“I’d like to thank the film producers and all the people who featured and helped with its production. We hope this film reaches new people and new support for Emmaus. I encourage everyone to watch the film and vote for it in the Charity Film Awards. Voting will help raise awareness of Emmaus and the fantastic work of our communities and groups.” 

The film was commissioned by the partnership of seven Emmaus communities and groups within the North West. Photographic duo ‘Photography by Anderson’ helped produce the film, having previously worked with the charity in 2021. 

The Charity Film Awards will take place on 20 March 2024, the United Nations International Day of Happiness, at The Odeon Luxe in Leicester Square, London. Since being created in 2017, it has already helped over 3,000 charities raise awareness and boost exposure, volunteer numbers and donations. 

The public can vote to help the film reach the final shortlist. Round one voting closes on Friday 12 January 2024. 

To see the full-length film and vote for it in the Charity Film Awards visit voting website and you can watch the film below.

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