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Emmanuel House Support Centre

Established in 1976, Emmanuel House Support Centre is an independent charity that supports homeless, vulnerable, and isolated adults in Nottingham. Its main aim is to prevent people becoming homeless and to support those who are already homeless into accommodation.

The organisation’s charity shop is a vital part of Emmanuel House and is stocked with clothing donated by members of the general public. Staffed entirely by volunteers, the shop provides an additional income stream for the charity essential to maintaining its support services. It is also a place where service users can gain first-hand work experience.

Emmanuel House Support Centre


The organisation wanted to raise awareness among members of the public about its shop, both to generate new retail customers and also to attract volunteers that might be willing to help it with social media campaigns and activity.

A team of five MSc Marketing and Brand Management students were assigned the challenge as part of their masters degree studies. They were asked to carry out relevant research and make recommendations to the organisation.

The students made a number of recommendations based on current research and market trends, as well as their own primary research, focusing on three key areas:

  • Sustainable recruitment of Volunteers. Among the team’s recommendations was advice on attracting volunteers by ensuring that vacancy bulletins used the same key words and terms that potential volunteers might use in online searches;
  • Creating a multi-sensory branding experience through Visual Merchandising, both in store and online, and
  • Advice about a social media strategy.

Over all the students helped inform their client about how to promote its brand, and how to tap into people’s love of sensory shopping and how to appeal to vintage shoppers and their love of creativity, style, and sustainable fashion.


The organisation were delighted with the quality of the recommendations they were offered and have taken on board several of the students’ suggestions. In addition it has also been inspired to offer NBS a follow up project to a new team of students asking them carry out additional research.

The students themselves enjoyed the experience of supporting the work of a local not-for-profit. Working on a real-life challenge presented some initial problems for the students, including the challenge of project managing a complex piece of research that required many different research elements that had to be brought together at the end. One student reflected how it wasn’t until afterwards that she truly understood the difference between Management and Leadership and spoke of how the project forced them to adjust their working styles and approach to project management.

"I really enjoyed the consultancy project with Emmanuel House and learned a lot, especially to do with branding, the charitable sector and most importantly effective team working."

Rhea Charles, graduate of MSc Marketing and Brand Management

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