I have been working as Emmaus Dover’s Community Leader since January 2018.

Before joining Emmaus, I was an NVQ Assessor and worked with a diverse range of people on a daily basis, supporting them to gain qualifications that they may have thought impossible to achieve before.

Finding Emmaus

A few years ago, I decided it was time to look for a new job. Somewhere I could use the skills I had built up during my career – and that life had taught me just by living. I wanted to help people find ways of dealing with the issues they were facing, but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.

When I saw the vacancy come up at Emmaus Dover, I knew it would be a fantastic opportunity. I felt like I could contribute to the community, even if in a small way, and help empower companions (formerly homeless people now supported by Emmaus) to move on with their journeys.

Making a difference

Emmaus is all about bringing someone in when life has knocked them down. We are here to show them that there is a better world out there. Working for Emmaus gives you the chance to really make a difference to someone’s life, to watch someone grow. Every day is different, but a big highlight for me is seeing companions taking the next step in rebuilding their lives, whether that’s finding their own home or landing a great job outside of the Emmaus community.

Of course, with any job there are challenges. The pandemic impacted my role in different ways. During the first lockdown, I worked from home and was calling companions as much as possible to see how they were and give them support. Then as we endured more lockdowns, I worked in the community several days a week, so that I could talk to companions face-to-face, which worked a lot better. The pandemic had an impact on companions’ mental wellbeing, too, as they were unable to go out and meet family and friends. Some also lost loved ones, which meant they needed extra support.

Transforming lives

Emmaus means so much to me, it’s hard to explain it fully. It is the only job I have ever had where I don’t care how many hours I might need to work in a day. I’m happy to talk to companions on the phone of an evening or weekend if it means they are in a better place at the end of it.

I am so proud of all the companions in what they achieve personally and how they support not only themselves, but also each other and us staff. We are one big family. Like a family, when someone is having a bad day or needs help, we come together. I am proud to tell people where I work and how Emmaus has changed my life.

Before coming here, I suffered with chronic depression and had no self-belief. I have now reduced the medication I take and have so much more confidence in everything I do. My husband says I am a new woman, and I owe all of this to Emmaus Dover and the companions here.