After two and a half years as CEO of Emmaus Hertfordshire, John Chesters is leaving Emmaus Hertfordshire to take up a new role as CEO of ECT,  ECT Charity provides safe, accessible and affordable community transport to people unable to use mainstream transport due to mobility or other difficulties, or because ordinary public transport is unavailable in their area.

We would like to wish John all the very best for in his new role.

We are delighted to say that Duncan Lewis will be taking up the role of CEO of Emmaus Hertfordshire. He has had an interesting and varied career, starting in the travel and tourism industry as a branding and marketing specialist before moving in to the not-for-profit sector with roles on the Commonwealth Games, Age UK and The Lord Taverners.

Farewell from John Chesters

“After nearly 2.5 years, it is with very mixed emotions that I’ll be leaving Emmaus Hertfordshire. So much has been achieved by the wonderful companions, staff and volunteers (including our excellent Board of Trustees) it is a real wrench to be moving on.

“We have all come through some significant and incredibly challenging times. It is testament to how well the community can work together that we made it through all the lockdowns and the risks of COVID without serious impact. A lot of walls were painted last summer, and plenty of pool played, but thankfully no-one became ill. An through it all, the staff team worked with the companions in increasingly inventive ways to keep us all occupied.

“There are so many supporters who I have been honoured to meet. They come from all walks of life and in so many different ways they have always responded positively and been an incredible help to us. Highlights must be the provision of emergency winter shelter with Open Door and the developing partnership with St Albans Foodbank as look to improve our main site at Hill End to incorporate long-term storage space for their indispensable services to the local area. The planning application for the works have been submitted and the daunting prospect of fundraising to deliver the project is underway – watch this space as I am sure there will be a request soon for support!

“It would be naïve to suggest it is all set fair and will be an easy ride, and I know I am leaving Duncan with plenty to think about. We face the same issues as every other retailer as the bricks and mortar shops have seen their incomes falling. We are moving our own sales on-line, and already know this works so well with our award winning eBay shop.

Our House Clearance team have also remained very busy through the last year, helping those facing the dreadful task of clearing a property during the pandemic . And we have also provided dozens of “solidarity” packages of furniture to those trying to set up their home but who have little or no funds to buy the barest essentials – a bed to sleep on, or a table on which to eat.

“And I may be leaving this role but it is not my intention to forget everyone I’ve met in Emmaus. It is an international movement, but without doubt it is the strength of each local community which makes it such a success. I wish you all success in the future.”