Emmaus Colchester is a homelessness charity that provides much more than a bed for the night. We work to provide a home for as long as someone needs it, with meaningful work in our social enterprise, helping them rebuild their lives. By living in a stable environment, our companions get the opportunity to work and regain lost self-esteem and confidence to help them back on their feet. 

Shane is one of our current companions who is literally rebuilding his own life, with the support of the Colchester Emmaus community. 

Originally from the North, he spent his childhood in Barnardo’s, and has been in and out of prison most of his life, as a result of a serious cocaine habit. After spending a long time with a clean slate, he found himself reliant on drugs once again. “I realised I needed something to change”, says Shane, “I found out about Emmaus and applied direct to Colchester and arranged to come here for an interview.” 

He was prepared to move to another part of the country to rebuild his life. “I needed to get away from the everyone I knew, because everything was drug related,” he adds. 

He’s certainly not afraid of hard work and is hoping to get back to self-employed work, where he specialises in deep drainage and heavy plant groundwork, working at power stations and oil refineries. For now, you’ll find him working in the Warehouse or out on the vans. “I like the heavy work, I can’t go behind a till, or computer, it’s not me. I’m used to being outside in all weathers,” says Shane. 

He recently took on the challenge of rebuilding the brick wall at the rear of Emmaus Colchester’s New Life Shop on Crouch Street. It had been partly knocked down by a car and needed repairing. I’ve done a lot of brickwork over the years, I was able to use some of the old materials and a few new ones.”  

So, how is Shane finding his time at Emmaus Colchester?  

“I’m quite enjoying it and am feeling more positive, I’m planning to get back to work this year. I needed to get off the drugs first, which is why I came to Emmaus. I asked to be drug tested three times a week for the first 10 weeks, and that’s what they’ve done. I needed a strict routine to stop me in my tracks, and it’s worked.”  

Shane is now looking for support for Emmaus UK’s Companion Training Fund, which he hopes will provide him with funding to buy the necessary Hi-Vis gear and tools that he needs for his work. “I plan to stay down here, because if I go back home I’m likely to get caught up in the drug scene again. I want to make a fresh start,” he says. 

Do you know anyone who is homeless and in need of support? Find out about our referral process.