Until October 2021 I worked as Community Director at Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire; I ran the organisation alongside our volunteer trustees and in 2020 I celebrated 10 years with the charity. I’m really passionate about Emmaus and believe the charity’s job is to make 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 it not only provides a home, it offers 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 would feel extremely proud when we received 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 the charity has got lots of friends it can call on to share experiences and ideas.

I continue to be 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 were many rewarding moments in my role and these often happened when a companion achieved something new. It’s always moving when someone is able to reconnect with family they’d lost contact with. When a companion gets a job, they move out and start living independently again and that’s absolutely fantastic.

One thing that always got to me and made me thankful to have this great job, was when a companion left us and then returned for whatever reason. I’d talk to them and ask how they were settling in, and they would often say something like “it’s great to be back home”. If Emmaus can make someone feel like that, then I think it has achieved its aims.

2020 was 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 have been a part of this great charity helping people to grow and feel safe in the world.