Three former companions at Emmaus Colchester have been appointed full-time roles at the homelessness charity during 2020. It’s proof that the social enterprise works to help people transition out of homelessness and into work. 

Phil Archer takes up the role of Caretaker and Maintenance Manager, and John Purtell and Paul Reynolds have been appointed drivers. 

During their time as companions they all worked within the social enterprise, helping in the shops, the community house, out on the vans delivering and collecting furniture or within the workshop.  

For Phil, a natural fit was the workshop, as he’d previously worked in the building trade. “I know how things are built and how to repair them, and I really enjoy doing the repairs and painting the furniture.” Phil’s new role sees him maintaining the accommodation at the Community House and the shops, and he has played an instrumental role in reshaping the Home Shop, which has recently been refurbished. 

He pays particular tribute to former Caretaker, Dave Parks, who sadly passed away earlier this year. “Dave was a top bloke and will be sadly missed. He taught me a lot and I hope he’s proud of what I have been able to achieve, with his help, during my time at Emmaus. 

Paul is the most recent recruit to join the staff team. He spent six years with Emmaus Colchester as a companion, during which time Emmaus funded him to complete his CPC training to drive commercial vehicles of 7.5 tonnes and above. He left the community to accept work as a commercial driver, before returning to take up his current role. 

Darren Scott, business manager said: “Emmaus Colchester is about supporting our companions to live independent lives and get them back into work, we take our commitment seriously and value their progression and what they are able to give back.”  


Pictured here: Emmaus Colchester’s new drivers, John Purtell (left) and Paul Reynolds (right), join Rob Wilkinson (centre), who was also a former companion within the Colchester community.

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