My name is Alan, I am 64 years old, and I have volunteered at Emmaus Colchester for four years.

In 2014, I started to consider retirement and wanted to spend some of my time volunteering – I just didn’t know what for until learning about Emmaus.

I was first introduced to Emmaus Colchester when a trustee approached the recruitment agency I managed and requested help with employing a new Community Leader. I got to know a lot about Emmaus’s work whilst doing that piece of recruiting, and I was amazed by how the charity was helping people who were homeless.

Four years later, and I am now one of the longest standing volunteers and I don’t foresee a time when I’ll stop.

I have volunteered in a number of areas, and I like to think of myself as an extra pair of hands that helps to improve the productivity of the permanent staff. I volunteer one day a week, and most of my time is spent on the Kudos system that Emmaus Colchester uses for its charity shop tills. Over time, I have become a useful link between the Kudos system supplier and Emmaus, and I regularly go to each shop to maintain or fix any problems with the tills. In the past, I have also helped the transport office with optimising their delivery and collection schedule.

Volunteering at Emmaus isn’t just about what I can do for them, but also how it benefits me. It gives me some weekly structure and I enjoy getting to know the other people who are at Emmaus. My background in business also means that I have the opportunity to put my skills to good use by volunteering in the social enterprise side of Emmaus.

I like how the environment of Emmaus shows Companions that they do have something to offer – everything is available to them; a roof over their head, food and work, but they give back too and become part of the community. It’s the same for volunteers – I feel like part of the community and feel like I’m adding value when I’m here.