I have volunteered at Emmaus Cambridge for almost a year, and I have loved every minute of it! I have been coming to the community for a few years always shopping in the emporium and finding things, I could upcycle. I am very creative and love a project, so Emmaus was the perfect place to find a treasure. My mum moved closer to me a couple of years ago and she loves Emmaus just as much as I do. We furnished her new home with so many great items from the shop. On one of my regular trips to the emporium I was chatting with Barney, a companion, and he said, “You are always here, you may as well work here” within five minutes Barney had given me a volunteer application form and the rest is history!
I worked as a hairdresser in London for over 40 years. When I moved to Cambridge, I used to travel to London a couple of days a week for work. However, when my partner retired, it really encouraged me to take some time for myself. I’ve always been artistic and I just needed an outlet, but I didn’t just want to do it from home anymore. Volunteering in the community gives me so much, I just love coming in and chatting with everyone, everyone cares and wants to know how you are. I volunteer a couple of days a week and always look forward to coming in. I feel so comfortable and relaxed when I volunteer. I usually work on the mezzanine where all the bric-a-brac and textile donations first arrive to be sorted through. The companions, staff and volunteers that I work with on the mezzanine are great fun, you’re always guaranteed a laugh.
During lockdown, I came up with an idea to create a display from donated ties. Over a thousand ties later and months of work, I’ve created a fun and vibrant display. I wanted to show people the potential the items in Emmaus have, even something as simple as a tie! Whilst we were in lockdown and I was unable to volunteer in the community, this project helped massively with my mental health, it gave me a focus. I and other volunteers were counting down the days until we could volunteer in the community, we couldn’t wait to get back! I have always felt welcomed by everyone in the community and being able to offer my time to an amazing charity that I’ve loved for years is the ‘cherry on top’!