To celebrate Trustees’ Week (12-16 November), Emmaus Gloucestershire is sharing the story of formerly homeless man Michael ‘Spike’ Hudson and his work as an Emmaus trustee.
At 17, Spike left his family home and spent 10 years moving across the UK. Heavily involved with drink and drugs, Spike alternated between sleeping rough and in hostels when there was space. A run-in with police led to Spike moving to London in 1997, where he was eventually invited to take part in a UK wide research project with Emmaus.
Working with Emmaus on a research project which looked to identify ways to end homelessness changed Spike’s life. He realised that the community values of the charity resonated with him, and he took the opportunity to become a trustee at Emmaus Gloucestershire. Years later, Spike still uses his experience of homelessness to help others that are in the same position that he once was.
Commenting on his role in Emmaus Gloucestershire, Spike said:
“From being homeless myself I can say that Emmaus are an organisation working hard to address the real needs of people who have experienced homelessness. I’m sure there are lots of people who feel like they should give more, and the role of an Emmaus trustee is a great way to share skills and experience to help make a difference to a positive cause. Before I was always trying to take from the world; but the more drugs I took, the emptier I felt. Now, the more I give, the better I feel.”
Emmaus Gloucestershire provides a home for as long as needed and meaningful work for up to 31 people, known as companions, who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion, offering them an alternative route out of homelessness within a supportive environment. Companions gain valuable skills through working in the charity’s five second-hand shops in Gloucester, Nailsworth, Cheltenham, and Stroud.
The Emmaus Gloucestershire Board of Trustees play an important role in the development and governance of the charity by offering their skills, knowledge and experience. With the support of Emmaus Gloucestershire, others in Spike’s position can have the opportunity to turn their life around.
Joe Feeley, Chief Executive at Emmaus Gloucestershire, said:
“Trustees are vital to the work of our charity. Without their support, scrutiny and challenge we would not be able to operate effectively. The role of a trustee can be demanding but ultimately very rewarding; I take my hat off to those who rise to the challenge. I hope Spike’s story highlights that people from all walks of life can use their skills and experiences as a trustee and can help to make a difference to more homeless people in the UK.”
Emmaus Gloucestershire is keen to encourage applications from individuals with a professional background or with skills and experience in e-sales, business, marketing, communications or fundraising. Trustees meet as a board 12 times each year and individual trustees may also get involved in other ways, as their time permits. The charity provides full induction training and offers reimbursements for travel expenses.
Trustees’ Week 2018 celebrates over 1 million UK trustees and promotes the benefits of volunteering to be a trustee.
For more information about Emmaus Gloucestershire, head to www.emmaus.org.uk/gloucestershire. If you would like to apply to become a trustee, contact Emmaus Gloucestershire on 01452 413 095 or by email at [email protected]