Before starting as chief executive at Emmaus Colchester, Denise had a varied career trajectory, largely at Barclay’s bank. After 20 years with the bank, Denise accepted voluntary redundancy and took some time out to figure out how she could help people close to home. Before she knew it, Denise had set up a charity in Northants and opened a thriving community centre. Her most recent job before joining Emmaus Colchester was a commissioner for Suffolk County Council.
Before starting at Emmaus, Darren reached a Governor grade position in the prison service working with vulnerable men, women, and young offenders. Darren is responsible for a team of up to 31 companions, 22 volunteers and pushing the retail side of our social enterprise further. The part that Darren enjoys most about his role at Emmaus Colchester is seeing the companions, who often arrive with low self-esteem, come out of their shell, build confidence and begin to trust people.
Anita has a background in accounts and previously worked as a military accountant and a cashier at a legal practice, before becoming a trustee and treasurer at the Hythe Community Centre. She takes care of all money matters and is responsible for the accounts, bookkeeping and petty cash. She also ensures we stay compliant and that everything’s done correctly, this includes being responsible for fire alarm testing, seeing that our vans are legally compliant and have MOTS, and that all our electrical appliances are PAT tested.
Gia came to Colchester five years ago to study at Essex University. After getting her degree, she did an internship with a local charity which helps people to get back into employment. Gia has always been involved with volunteering and working with people. She spent seven years as a volunteer with Food Bank Lithuania, was a member of the University of Essex V-Team and worked with the Red Cross. The first time Gia heard about Emmaus was after visiting one of the high street shops while she was at university. Gia joined Emmaus in 2015 and was attracted by the opportunity to work with people. She enjoys helping our companions overcome the obstacles they are facing, while using a person-centered approach.
Before starting at Emmaus, Gemma studied 3D design at university and then spent eight years working as a visual merchandiser at Fenwick – a large department store in the town. Each day brings new donations and new challenges, as Gemma decides what stock to place in each one of our shops. She always works her creative magic and designs eye-catching displays that draw in new and regular customers. Gemma enjoys working alongside our companions and feels very lucky to be doing a job she loves for such a worthwhile charity.
Before starting at Emmaus, Flo worked for the University of Essex’s Student Union in their lettings department. Flo had been aware of Emmaus before applying, as she loved popping into our charity shops. She loves the fact that Emmaus provides people with the tools to really reboot their lives and instils a sense of confidence within the companions, who often arrive with low self-esteem.
After completing a year at the Sixth Form College in Colchester, Maddie spent three years working in retail. She particularly enjoyed the customer service aspect of the role and often found herself helping vunerable customers. Maddie joined us in June this year to help cover part of her sister’s maternity leave. On a day-to-day basis she deals with housing benefit applications and the community house admin, including inventories, cleaning and compliance issues. She says that working at Emmaus has really opened her eyes to the work we do and how much we support the companions.
Michael has moved from a role in the building sector, where he was looking to find a more fulfilling role, while helping people in the community. He is currently studying mental health, psychology and counselling and is pleased to be working at Emmaus, helping those who have formerly been homeless. Michael’s current role, as Development Worker, involves training all the new companion’s, which includes inductions, workshops and online courses and training days. His aim is to help the companions achieve good progression goals, with training in place and a clear idea of the direction they want to take, helping them move on and feel fulfilled.
You’ll find Rob out on our vans, either collecting furniture and large household items, or delivering purchased items to our customers. Rob will also be your personal point of contact if you’ve organised a house clearance.
You’ll find Simon on the road in one of our distinctive green vans. He keeps himself busy delivering furniture to customers and collecting donations. He’s one of our two full-time drivers and works with companions and volunteers to keep help keep the show on the road.
Dave is often seen about Emmaus Colchester with a toolbox in hand. He keeps everything maintained and in tip-top condition, from checking the fire alarms to fixing hinges and replacing light bulbs.