My name is Darren Keenan and I’ve been a companion at Emmaus Dover since 2008. I work in the three retail shops in Dover, Ashford and Canterbury. I’m a people person so I enjoy my role at Emmaus Dover – I like making people smile.

When we chose to close the shops because of the coronavirus outbreak it affected me badly. I have bad anxiety and started having panic attacks because I’m just so scared as to what the future will hold. It’s almost as scary as when I got evicted and was made homeless – that’s how bad it is. I’m worried about how Covid-19 will affect the economy and how Emmaus is going to cope after this. The income we are losing from the shops is going to have a detrimental effect on the charity. I think everyone is hiding a lot of anxiety at the moment, myself included, but I can’t let myself slip into depression.

We are all sticking together

Although it’s a scary time right now, I’m amazed at how we’re all working together and the strength that we have as a team. During this time, we’ve been doing jobs that we’ve been meaning to do for a while and we’re fixing up the community – which is great. The skills that we’ve got here between us is amazing and we’re able to see the full potential of each other and what we can offer to the community. For example, we’ve got a companion who is a qualified electrician, so he’s been putting some LED lights in our new bathroom and repairing a lot of the electrics around the site. We’ve also got memorial benches for companions who have passed away and they’re getting a well-deserved repaint and spruce up. I’m just so proud of how we are all sticking together and we’re as strong as I could ever imagine.

Stay safe and keep positive

My advice to our supporters is to don’t give up. Emmaus Dover is strong and tough and so are our customers – we will get through this. I can’t wait to see all of the customers again and get back to some kind of normality. We all just need to stick to the rules and then this will be over sooner or later. Stay safe and keep positive!

To support Emmaus Dover please donate to our Covid-19 Emergency Appeal.