I first joined Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire as Community Director, after leaving my housing career of 30 years. I’m now Vice Chair.
I’d worked in social housing since leaving school and the charity was very near to my home, but I didn’t know anything about it. I learnt that it helped formerly homeless and socially excluded people, so was surprised that I hadn’t come across Emmaus in my social housing career.
I got involved and now I really wish I’d known about Emmaus earlier on in my career, so I could have better understood the fundamental purpose of social housing and that it shouldn’t just be about giving someone a roof over their head. My career experience provided me with the concept of ‘social purpose’, but it is my involvement with Emmaus which profoundly defined for me the importance of ‘social value and social action’: providing the most disadvantaged members of society with a roof over their heads, a supportive and decent community to live in and a life with purpose.
I am now a trustee and Vice Chair of Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire, Chair of Emmaus UK and former National Delegate for the UK at Emmaus International. I became a trustee because I wanted to give back in some way and to use my experience to do good for people experiencing difficulty and hardship.
Emmaus is a place of safety in an otherwise chaotic world around us. It provides time and support to heal, think, grow and to redevelop self-worth and independence. At the heart of Emmaus is ‘solidarity’ – the charity’s ethos of helping others less fortunate. It creates a sense of proactive kindness and encourages people to pay attention to others in need, so that everyone works together to help make lives better.
I feel that in a small way I’m contributing to a great cause. I find Emmaus invigorating, unique, phenomenal, rewarding and humbling, and I try to utilise my professional experience to make a positive difference to others’ health and wellbeing. I am grounded by Emmaus and I have an emotional connection to what it is doing. I am passionate and motivated by its impact and contribution to individuals and society. I know we have the potential to reach and help more people and show them what they can achieve for themselves with a little help and support.