I came to Emmaus Hertfordshire in May 2019 after spending more than two years living at the YMCA. Now, with the help of Emmaus, I have started a carpentry course at the local college and have settled into the community.

I was kicked out by my family when I was 20 years old because we were on bad terms. I know I was quite old to still be living at home but being kicked out with nowhere to go was hard. My uncle ended up helping me out and let me stay with him and my cousin.

I was in and out of jobs at the time and found it difficult to hold one down because of my depression and anxiety. In one year, I must have had about 10 different jobs, but I was struggling with everything – my mental health, making mistakes and not being able to deal with the pressure.

Although my uncle put me up in a small room, he never really wanted ‘lodgers’ in the first place, and while he would have never kicked me out on the street, after so long he said enough was enough and helped me get into the YMCA.

Altogether there are about 180 people in the YMCA, and a lot of them are the wrong people to be around. I’m not really sociable so I kept to myself and would hide in my room most of the time. I was bidding on housing through the council too but didn’t get anywhere. When my two-year time limit was up, I was faced with nowhere to go – until I found Emmaus.

I had heard that Emmaus helped people learn new skills, save money and move on. Luckily, I was able to get into Emmaus Hertfordshire straight away. At first, I felt stressed with community living and I did find it a bit scary, but now I’ve settled in with the help of the other companions and the support team.

At Emmaus, I work mainly in housekeeping, helping to keep the community clean. I like having something to do every day and being active. I used to be okay with sitting around being lazy, but if you’re not doing anything for ages it does get boring and hard to get out of that pattern. I am also on medication for my depression and anxiety too so that is feeling under control.

In September 2019, I started my Level 2 Diploma in Carpentry at Oaklands College and I’m really enjoying that. Emmaus is supporting me through it and giving me the time off from working in the community so I can attend college and do my assignments. I’m also going to Recover every Friday with other companions to learn upholstery. Recover is similar to Emmaus in that they upcycle donated furniture and run workshops for people. I like doing this because it’s a chance to meet new people and learn a new skill.

After I have completed my college course, with the help of Emmaus I hope to move on and find a job where I belong.