I had all the trimmings – a house, money in the bank, a car – then I lost it all.

It all started when a series of things happened to me, in a short space of time – I lost my job and experienced a personal bereavement. Money trouble and a relationship break-up all snowballed into the need to seek solace in something. I chose alcohol. It buried me deeper in the sand and before I knew it everything had slipped. It started off as one little catalyst, and it just started to slowly erode me.

Being homeless made me feel dead. I just had to blank it out, and that would be with alcohol. I spent the days trying to dodge the weather and to find a safe place to lay my head. My daughter lived locally to where I used to sleep rough and I was petrified that she would walk past and see me like that, I was so ashamed with myself. I didn’t want to be in that situation, but I couldn’t see any way out.  I went to the council but there’s nothing that they can do for a male that’s not deemed to be a risk, I was out there on my own. It was desolate.

I had never heard of Emmaus before meeting a previous companion at an outreach centre in Dover.  As soon as I came to Emmaus I felt relieved. It gave me a clear space to think about where things were at. It immediately put a handbrake on life and it stopped things getting worse and hurtling down that slope. Emmaus made me look forward to the future. It doesn’t take long to knacker everything up, but it takes a lot longer to get things back to where they were before. I’ve just got to accept that it will take a while.

Emmaus has come up trumps where other organisations have failed. I have gotten so much support from the staff, as well as the other companions.  The Companion Training Fund at Emmaus UK has funded a Forward Tipping Dumper course and a CSCS card for me, they’re worth gold. The training has made my future look bright, and has given me so many more opportunities that I can grasp hold of. It’s the springboard I needed to bounce back up.

I enjoy my job at the community. I look after the garden onsite throughout the week, growing flowers and vegetables that are sold to raise money for the community, or used for meals for the other companions. When I first arrived at Emmaus, there was some areas that needed some attention, so I enjoyed getting it back up to scratch.

I’m grateful for Emmaus, I don’t know where I would be now without them. It’s a safety net so I don’t have to worry any more. I will always be eternally grateful.