As Community Leader my role is to lead the charity, overseeing our Support and Enterprise teams, to make sure Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire is as effective as possible, enabling companions to rebuild their lives.

Social action career

I grew up in Coventry and I now live locally. During my career, I spent several years in public health as a fitness consultant, helping to rehabilitate ex-servicemen. I also worked in diabetes prevention, and did just about everything health-related. I then went into education, with a focus on behaviour management and social action work.

For the past four years I’ve been an operations manager in social action settings: working with people who are homeless, at a job centre and helping to arrange community activities. I wanted to focus more on homelessness, so when this job became available I applied, and started my role in November 2022.

Joining the Emmaus staff team

I’m someone who likes to get stuck in when I start a new job. With my previous management background, I was able to transfer those skills. My experience working with vulnerable individuals has also been helpful when working with companions.

I don’t really have a typical day: every day is different. I get involved in lots of different things, including overseeing health and safety, contributing to policy making and liaising with trustees. I’m always there for the companions as a listening ear if they are having a bad day and need someone to talk to. I could be supporting someone, and then shift gears and go into a board meeting where we’re planning for the charity’s future. I’m certainly never bored!

Paying it forward

I’m very passionate about the solidarity work done by Emmaus. ‘Solidarity’ is central to the Emmaus ethos. This is when our companions and staff ‘pay it forward’ by helping other people in need. I particularly enjoy helping to distribute supplies to local food banks. When you drop off some food and know it’s going to help so many families, it feels worthwhile.

Enabling companions and plans for the future

I think it is important to work with companions and listen to their ideas. We hold regular companion meetings and it’s great to see so many people grow in confidence and get involved with new things. When companions feel like they are being heard and they advocate for each other, that’s what an Emmaus community is all about.

I’m looking forward to seeing us grow – we have grand plans coming soon! I’m also working on plans to help companions learn new skills and connect with the wider community outside of Emmaus, so they can have more opportunities when they’re ready to leave.