I have known Emmaus for many years, having dropped off some bits and pieces and collected furniture for different people that needed it over the years.

I’ve lived in Dover for around 30 years. I’ve always been very involved in the community and doing work for mental health and disability support services. Charities mean a lot to me because I know the harder side of life. It’s part of who I am, I’ve just never been able to walk on by and ignore anyone who has a hard time. You also never know when you or someone you love might need support, even if you think it will never happen. It does happen. That’s why I’ve always been interested in knowing about the facilities we have available and fighting for them, making them stronger so that they last longer.

Recently, my daughter found herself fleeing from serious domestic violence. Her whole flat was destroyed. She had nothing: no furniture, no clothes, nothing to be able to rebuild her life. She needed a good home to go back to being the person that she is, and I just couldn’t afford to give it to her. That’s why I rang Emmaus for help. I spoke to Debbie, the Community Manager, and explained what had happened to my daughter and what I genuinely needed. Debbie went off to check what they had available and rang me back to schedule a delivery, as simple as that. Since then, Emmaus has donated a fridge freezer, a washing machine, a TV, some saucepans and cooking dishes to my daughter.

I have known Emmaus for many years, having dropped off some bits and pieces and collected furniture for different people that needed it over the years. And I always knew that they genuinely care about the community and the people that are in it. It might sound small, but Emmaus provided my daughter with the sort of thing that you don’t realise how valuable it is until you don’t have it. Sometimes it’s the little things, the little blocks, that start building stability in someone’s life.

My daughter is doing a lot better now. She’s working on rebuilding her life after having it completely destroyed. She just recently moved into her new flat and absolutely loves it. It’s all cleaned, repainted and refurbished. The best bit was when she first went in and saw the furniture and clothing I had managed to get from different second-hand shops. She was so happy looking at second-hand saucepans, plates, cups – something most people just take for granted. You just don’t know the difference that a set of second-hand saucepans can actually make to someone. You try making lunch without a saucepan. Try making tea without a cup. You can’t, and it makes a world of difference.

When companions from Emmaus came to deliver the furniture, I said to one of them: “You’re making a real difference in the life of someone you’re never going to meet. And for that, I’d like to thank you”. And I stepped forward and gave him a hug. And he said that was probably the first hug he’d had in a very long time. I needed that hug, but he needed it too. He told me how he had his own issues and mental health struggles, and I shared how I have them too. We understood each other. You simply never know – I don’t know him, and I’ll probably never see him again, but in that moment we understood each other.

When someone is struggling, if there is one door to push on, it’s going to be Emmaus. It’s always been like this and it always will be. It is a safe door to always push on to ask for help. There’s always someone that’s going to be there to help you, and if they don’t have what you need, they’ll find someone who does. You’re never on your own with Emmaus. They will not leave you in the dark, and they never, ever judge you.

So if you have something that you don’t need, give it to Emmaus, because you’re helping someone who you’ll never meet. By walking into Emmaus with a stack of saucepans, perhaps because you’ve changed the décor and don’t need them anymore, you could be providing someone with a little block that will help them build stability. For you it’s just an old saucepan, but for someone else it’s a world of difference. The little blocks matter.