My name is Jason, I’m 26 and originally from Norwich

I came to Emmaus Colchester last October, just after my birthday. I’d been living in Norwich, with my younger brother Carlton, but was having problems with my finances and got into rent arrears, before being evicted.  

I also suffer from depression, and although I was working during my time in Norwich, I’d been signed off work a couple of times. I worked at The Range, The Works and Marks & Spencer. I particularly enjoyed my time at M&S. I started on a 4-week voluntary scheme through the Princes Trust. After the four weeks were up they took me on for a 6-month contract, which was extended for another 6-months. Unfortunately, the contract wasn’t extended again, but I left on good terms. 

We were evicted from our flat in August 2019 so we went to live with a cousin. When she asked us to leave, Carlton and I were split up and Carlton moved in with a friend. Carlton’s friend suggested that Emmaus could help, so he made a referral and got accepted at Emmaus Colchester. He was then able to help me secure a place, so I was able to join him. 

It’s good for us to stay together as we don’t have any other family support. He knows that I’m safe and I know that he’s safe. It gives us peace of mind that we know what each other is doing. 

When I first joined Emmaus Colchester, I was off my medication for depression and I seemed alright, but a week or two into lockdown I had a wobble. My doctor put me back on my meds and I feel level again. I still have off days, but nothing as bad as I used to. I’d sleep all through the day and get up at night. I had nothing to be up for and no responsibilities. 

Being at Emmaus has given me a routine. I’ve worked all around the business – in the warehouse and workshop and in all of the shops. I really don’t mind where I work, although I particularly enjoyed working in the kitchen at the Community House, as I was kept very busy. 

There are a few characters at the community house! I prefer to keep myself to myself and I’m not very good in big groups, as I’m quite solitary. I like having my own room and space to get away at the end of the day and on my days off. 

Emmaus has given me support with helping me get back to work. Darren, the business manager, has placed me on a Food and Hygiene Level 2 course, and Flo, my support worker, is helping me look into social care training. In the future I’d like to work with children and young adults. 

It’s a difficult time during Covid-19 but I want to get back on my feet and find a job, get my debts down and get a place of my own. Emmaus Colchester has allowed me to gain a lot of experience and skills and I’m very grateful to the staff. It’s really worth making a referral, there’s nothing to lose. Emmaus offers more than a roof over your head – it provides support as well.