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.
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 Colchester, Ian had a varied career, including working at Suffolk County Council for 10 years managing a number of local authority contracts – supporting vulnerable adults, including those with mental health, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and older peoples’ services. Since leaving the Council in 2017, Ian worked as a manager in a Retirement Housing Court in Clacton, and most recently at the London Borough of Southwark where he completed a full service review of the commissioned hostels and supported living schemes for the homeless and those with mental health related illnesses. Ian’s role at Emmaus is to look after the Companions and the accommodation.
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.
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.