Curtis joined Emmaus Hertfordshire in 2018 after living in a hostel following a short spell of homelessness. He secured an apprenticeship as a chef at a leading agri-tech company based in Hertfordshire last June and has recently moved into his own flat.

I joined the community at Hertfordshire in October 2018 – so I’ve been here just over four years. I was in a hostel in Hitchin and I was on the verge of having to leave the hostel but they told me about Emmaus and suggested I get in touch. I came down and had a chat with Emmaus staff and moved into the community in St Albans shortly afterwards.

Before I got a place at the hostel in Hitchin I was homeless on the streets for a few days and it is something I do not want to repeat, it was a really difficult time for me.

I got a good feeling with Emmaus, support staff helped me get this job at Rothampstead Enterprises in Harpenden where I’ve been since June, following a work placement. I’m really enjoying it there, I’m a trainee chef on a full-time apprenticeship of one year. I did some cooking in the kitchen at Emmaus now and again and it was the first time I’d cooked for a bigger group of people, so it was great training for my current job.

It took time for me to progress from Emmaus – it didn’t happen overnight, but it did eventually happen. Support staff encouraged me to apply to this job and helped me with the application, so they’ve been very supportive. I’ll miss some of the people at Emmaus and plan to visit every now and then.

They also helped me with a few forms when I was searching for a flat which I’ve recently moved into so they’re great at helping people who want to move on. I’m not sure what I want to do in the future but I’m enjoying what I’m doing for now and I’m going to take things one day at a time.

Wishing Curtis all the best for the future, Duncan Lewis, Chief Executive of Emmaus Hertfordshire said: “Any regulars to our shops will recognise Curtis and his friendly face – he’s been an integral part of our community since joining us in 2018.

“Whether it be running our shops, delivering items on our vans, PAT testing our electricals, doing the admin or preparing our meals, Curtis has done it all!

“We’re really going to miss him but wish him all the best in completing his apprenticeship and in his new home. We’re so proud of him – he deserves every success!”