I came to Emmaus Cambridge last September (Sept 2020) and it’s the best thing I have ever done.

I was living in hostels for about three years and I was heavily on drugs. I had previously been staying with my brother, but he and his partner split up, so we both moved into hostels. We couldn’t move into the same hostel due to space and because of our ages. I was 24 years old so got put into a hostel for younger people, while he was older so went into a different one, and his was more family orientated as he had kids.

In the hostel I was in there was drugs all around me, it was hard to get away from them. There wasn’t anyone in the hostel who wasn’t taking drugs. It got to the point where I was spending long periods of time alone in my room, because the minute I left my room there would be people asking me to go with them to get drugs. My mindset was just not strong enough to say no, I didn’t have the confidence.

I decided I had to get out of the hostel lifestyle, get away from where I was living. My key workers asked if I had heard of Emmaus and suggested I look into it. They told me they had been in contact with Emmaus before and felt I would do really well there. I looked it up and thought it sounded brilliant and would help me massively.

I applied with the keyworker’s help and got an interview and started to make a massive change in my life. I was 25 when I moved into Emmaus Cambridge, I am the youngest here.

The first week at Emmaus Cambridge was hard as, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to go into isolation by myself. I used that time to settle into my room and just focus on myself. The second week was much better. I was able to do some work and meet everyone else. I was able to socialise and talk to other companions about their experiences.  It was nice to know I wasn’t the only person in my situation, that others had similar experiences too.

Life at Emmaus is good. I didn’t have any routine in the hostel, but now I have one every day. I wake up, shower, have breakfast and then I am ready to start work. I need the structure Emmaus offers me. It reassures me, and really helps me. I was really lacking routine in the hostel and did my own thing. I’d often go days without eating. I now have my breakfast, lunch and dinner provided at set times, I know what I am doing every day.

My main role at Emmaus Cambridge is sorting items when they come in ready to go into the shop. I help unload the van when things come in and sort them. If anything comes in that is unusual or possibly valuable, I research them to make sure we price them right. I have found quite a few Denby things and some Royal Dalton figures which sold for a lot of money on our eBay site. It always surprises me to see what items are valuable!

I’m not doing any training at the moment as it is difficult with the COVID pandemic, but once this is over I want to learn to drive and do some electrical courses. I’d love to have my own car, and the big long-term thing for me is that I want to train to be an electrician. I want to be my own boss, and work doing a job I love, visiting people’s homes to carry out electrical work.

I’d 100% recommend Emmaus to people who find themselves in a hostel. I have messaged a few of the people I met in the hostel to tell them about Emmaus and that if they ever want a way out of the way they are living they should contact Emmaus. It’s changed my life. When I left the hostel I was nine stone, I was skinny. I wasn’t looking after myself. In the space of four months at Emmaus Cambridge I have gained two stone. I feel healthy. I have routine, I have clothes, I have support. It’s more than a roof over my head.

I’d say to anyone who is struggling, anyone who wants to turn their life around, Emmaus is the place to do it.

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