BURNLEY-based homelessness charity Emmaus has launched a new venture at its Ivy Street superstore.

The group, which employs 24 formerly homeless people, is to open a car wash to the public six days a week.

The outgoing Mayor of Burnley, Coun Frank Cant, officially opened the new service on Friday.

Emmaus, which has been operating in Burnley for almost four years, hopes to increase its number of ‘companions’ to 30.

Emmaus Burnley’s retail operations manager, Stephen Cooke, said: “We will offer the service free to Emmaus customers, so if you buy in our superstore, you’ll get a car wash voucher.

“You can just come for the car wash though - it will be £1.99 for a spray, hand wash and hand dry.”

“We will be using a rotating three man/woman crew who will be responsible for all the running of the service, so that they get the feel of running a real small business.”

“All profits from the car wash and the Superstore go back into running the Emmaus community, which provides housing and meaningful work for our companions.

"We’re helping people off the streets and into a constructive life.

“Homelessness usually brings with it a range of other challenges, so we offer support in these areas and we often see amazing transformations in people’s lives.

“This car wash will also allow people to interact with the very people they may have once crossed a road to avoid.

“Our service helps prevent begging, theft and other antisocial problems associated with homelessness, so we’d love people across the area to support what we do – whether that means shopping for a bargain in the superstore, using the car wash, or using goods that we can renovate and sell.”

The Ivy Street superstore, which is housed in the former St John’s Primary School building, sells donated homeware, clothing and electrical goods which have been renovated by its companions.