I’m the Community Director at Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire; I run the organisation alongside our volunteer trustees and in 2020 I’ll be celebrating 10 years with the charity. I’m really passionate about Emmaus and believe our job is to make this the best possible place that we can for people who are previously homeless.
I have always been involved in the third sector in Coventry and sat on many boards; when a colleague knew of a trustee vacancy at Emmaus he thought it was a good fit for me, so I offered my services. After five years as a trustee, I applied for the Community Director role.
Emmaus is special because we not only provide a home, we offer work as well. It’s very rewarding for people to be able to get up in the morning, get ready and head off for work. They come back at the end of the day and somebody has stayed at home to cook their dinner and to tidy up all the communal areas. They know they’re actually earning income to keep the charity afloat. I feel extremely proud when we get a lot of positive feedback from shop customers about our companions. It makes such a difference when people say nice things and it gives everyone real motivation.
I like the fact that Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire is part of a wider UK network of 29 communities and also part of an international movement. It feels like we’ve got lots of friends we can call on to share experiences and ideas. I’m a trustee at Emmaus UK and travelled to Switzerland to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Emmaus Manifesto – it was an honour to be around our international colleagues.
There are many rewarding moments in my role and these often happen when a companion achieves something new. It’s always moving when someone is able to reconnect with family they’d lost contact with. When one of our companions gets a job, they move out and start living independently again and that’s absolutely fantastic.
One thing that always gets to me and makes me thankful I’ve got this great job, is when a companion leaves us and then returns for whatever reason. I talk to them and ask how they are settling in, and they will often say something like “it’s great to be back home”. If we can make someone feel like that, then I think I’ve achieved my aims.
2020 is the charity’s 27th year in Coventry and it is great to think that it will still be here in another 27 years! I’m proud to be a part of this great charity helping people to grow and feel safe in the world.