My name is Katie and I’m from Bacup, Lancashire. I have been volunteering at Emmaus Burnley since June 2018, and have been a paid employee since February 2019.

I first came in contact with Emmaus Burnley when I was studying on my degree course; a BA Hons in Community Theatre and Performance at University of Central Lancashire, Burnley Campus. The course required me to create a project based around the community and, as I have always been passionate about ending homelessness, I chose to centre it on this.

I performed my piece in different areas of the UK and also in the college where I collected money for local homelessness charity; Emmaus Burnley. I hadn’t actually heard of the charity before, but when I visited, to hand over the donation, I decided that I was going to apply to volunteer.

I initially applied to volunteer in one of the shops, however was asked if I would like to work in the finance office alongside Gill, the Finance Officer. This gave me the opportunity to learn new skills such as banking and how to work with different computer applications.

Within the office, I work as an admin assistant where I am required to count shop takings, account for income and expenditure on spreadsheets and ensure companions’ savings and allowances are accounted for; and basically any tasks that arise.

I absolutely love volunteering here because the staff and companions are so friendly and welcoming. I was looked after by Gill and learned so much about administration and the different roles within the charity.

However, at the beginning of 2019, due to financial worries, time constraints and other commitments, I was contemplating leaving Emmaus. The charity supported me through this difficult time and offered me some paid hours, as a valued member of the team. They also gave me the flexibility to work around my studies at university and, as well as my paid hours, I also still volunteer one day a week.

I would encourage anyone who is considering it, to apply to volunteer for Emmaus Burnley as they are such a wonderful organisation who deeply care for both their companions and staff. The companions’ welfare and happiness are so important to the staff and this is reflected in the rapport they all have at the Emmaus House. The staff make everybody; whether that be visitors, companions or employees, feel included by inviting them to all of the events and meetings.

Emmaus Burnley is the best organisation I have ever worked for. I have never felt more comfortable in a setting right from the off!