Charlie’s Story

I was first made homeless down in Kent, where I used to live, due to a breakdown in a relationship. The relationship ended quite toxic. I got myself a little caravan after we first broke up which had no electricity, heating, or running water. It took, maybe two months to get electricity but I still had no water or heating. One day I came home, and all my stuff was missing from my caravan, I had been burgled.

After that, I was made homeless again in Cambridge. The council put me up in a hotel, and I was there for about 2 months. Then the hotel staff thought I was selling drugs from my room, so they contacted the council. I mean I wasn’t; I would have had some money to show for it if that had been the case.

I was kicked out, and I then went in a tent outside the hotel for the best part of 3 months. One of the members of staff was helping me, she was bringing me hot meals but eventually, she got fired because of it.

At the point when I was in the tent, I had nothing to do in the day and I was drinking a lot. Sometimes I’d go back to my tent and find people had left beers there. It was nice but at the same time I didn’t really want to drink but it was just there.

Those months were really difficult. People look down on you and assume things about you. That’s why I got kicked out of the hotel as well. It was frustrating because I was none of those things.

I didn’t want to ask anyone for help, for a matter of pride. In the end, I just sucked it up and started getting the ball rolling. A charity called P3 came out to see me and I found out about Emmaus through them. It sounded like something I’d be interested in and applied.

Arriving at Emmaus

I was quite scared about coming here at first. I was anxious about living in a community with lots of people and knowing that everyone had gone through the same thing. I was just over the moon that I could actually sleep in the bed, and I had a warm room I could sleep in.

I was worried I wouldn’t fit in, but look here I am, a year later!

I’m happy here, probably the happiest I’ve ever been for years. The feeling of being in a community like this, to me just feels like family, if not a bit of a dysfunctional one.

Celebrating one year at Emmaus

It’s been such a great year that I’ve been here, and I wanted to thank the community. I got in the kitchen and cooked Thai food for everyone. It’s my favourite food and I couldn’t believe how well it went down. There was a queue around the dining room, and I saw people come back with 2 or 3 extra bowls to fill up! I was really happy with that; I’d like to make it a regular thing.

I made a cake to celebrate too, and Jo the support worker has helped me in the past to make others. Jo’s a very good teacher, I didn’t learn to bake with my mum when I was younger, so I really enjoyed it. I’d like to help the café and make cakes for them to sell.

Working at Emmaus

I like to do a bit of everything, I don’t like to feel stuck in one place with work really. My favourite place to be is in the café.

I also like going out on the vans and meeting all the different people. Before Emmaus I was doing varied work, I worked in a petrol station, in a Malaysian restaurant and I was a bingo caller, which was my favourite job.

I do have a dream of one day maybe running my own restaurant, it’s a big dream, but it’s something to aim for.

I like that I’m working towards helping the charity, it makes me smile and if I can see other people smile then it makes me smile. I just enjoy being happy.

Moving On

Moving on is definitely on the cards but I want to kick my alcohol habit properly before I start living independently. I don’t want to end up in the same cycle.

I first started drinking when I found out my Stepdad wasn’t my real dad, I was about 12. I didn’t take it well. That was the start of my anxiety and depression as well.

Friendships at Emmaus

I get on with a lot of companions in the community, I’ve got some friends for life, I think. I love all the volunteers as well, that’s why I wanted to cook the Thai curry in the daytime so volunteers and staff could come along too.

I think at the time it was just daunting coming into the community with all these new people and with my anxiety I find it difficult to meet new people sometimes. I didn’t come out of my room the first two days I was here; I was nervous and shy. People could see I was quiet and not saying much so they’d come up to me and ask me if I was alright and start a conversation.

If someone else is in the same position, coming into the community, I’d say that you’ll be fine, you’ll settle in and you’ll feel at home.

I have a place to call home now, and it’s the best feeling in the world. Having somewhere to call your own means a lot.

I’d like to say thank you to everyone else out there who donates to Emmaus as well. Without those people, this place wouldn’t be what it is.

By subscribing you will receive regular updates and news from Emmaus Cambridge. We will never sell or distribute your information to a third party.