Before Emmaus, I was in prison for 14 weeks. I was very frightened about what would happen when I was released and where I’d go. I had lost my job before I went in, and I’d been living between bedsits, staying on friends’ sofas, and pitching my tent wherever I could. Sometimes a friend would let me stay in my tent in his garden where at least I had electricity, and I could use their shower.
While I was in prison, I kept to myself and if other inmates spoke to me, I’d chat but I kept my head down. I got involved with some education schemes and tried to make the best of it. I have never been in trouble with the Police before, so all of this was very stressful.
After I was released, I was put in a hostel in Peterborough which was horrible. The kitchen had rats. I was there for about a month, and it was miserable. I didn’t know what other options I had.
A support worker rang me and arranged an interview. I came here for the interview on a Monday, and I moved in on Tuesday! Which was absolutely fantastic. As soon as I came in for the interview, I knew it was going to be a great place for me. Emmaus gives me a place to live and work at the same time and I can’t fault it.
I’ve been here for a few months so far and it’s exactly what I needed after what I’ve been through. I’m enjoying working and helping other people. I’m working in the kitchen at the moment because I’ve done some catering work in the past. It’s good to keep busy it helps me to focus on the future and stop worrying.
I’ve struggled with my mental health in the past and have been on and off anti-depressants. It’s been a hard year and being at Emmaus has given me a boost and a lift. I am so thankful. I feel positive and good about the future, I’m ready to put the negative stuff behind me.
Darren has now been at Emmaus for 6 months and is still enjoying community life and has been cooking up a storm in the companion kitchen.