My name is Alun, I’m aged 55 and originally from High Wycombe. I’m at Emmaus Burnley but looking to move on soon.

I became homeless due to my gambling problem. Any money I got I just gambled it away. I ended up losing my home, my girlfriend, my life, everything really. Being homeless was very lonely and very tough. You have to live every day at a time as you don’t know where you’re going to eat or sleep each day. People weren’t interested in helping and you certainly know who your friends are.

I initially accessed support at Wycombe Homeless and they told me about Emmaus. I was originally at Emmaus St Albans and I was there for two and a half years. I met a lot of friends there who I still keep in touch with quite regularly.

I joined Emmaus Burnley in 2012 and it’s a really good community that has grown since I first came here. The staff members are nice and you get a lot of help and support which I’ve had. Burnley is a still a relatively new community; it’s still growing and has a lot of potential.

Emmaus has helped me out immensely. Whilst at Emmaus I’ve done my warehousing qualification, PAT testing, first aid, fire marshal training, CSCS card and done an accountancy course. I’ve also got a lot of experience working in the Emmaus shops, on the vans, in the workshop and you have a good laugh whilst you’re working.

Being part of an Emmaus community is a brilliant. You do meet a lot of interesting people and characters. It’s been a fantastic time here at Emmaus Burnley and the thing I love is that people will step in and help you when you need it. The camaraderie is really important here.

My plan for the future now I’ve got a job is to secure my own place to live and I’m getting support with that. I’m looking forward to going back to work but will come back to Emmaus to volunteer and help out where I can.

To the people who support Emmaus I say help out where you can. Come in and chat to the companions in the Emmaus shops. It makes a big difference when people chat as it picks companions up and shows that people care.