I found myself homeless when I was released from prison in 2018. I spent two weeks sleeping on the streets before I was given a place in a hostel in Borehamwood, and I stayed there for six weeks, during which time my probation officer told me of Emmaus Hertfordshire.

My interview to join Emmaus Hertfordshire was successful, and I moved into the community at Emmaus Hertfordshire where, like other companions, I worked and lived within the community. I had retail experience and was able to drive so my main job was driving to collect donations and make deliveries, but I also worked in the Boxmoor shop and warehouse, serving customers and sorting stock.

I was determined to get back on my feet so I started to apply for jobs, which I found really hard. Before my time in prison I had never been unemployed and I am a hard worker, so being rejected for jobs was difficult. I was knocked back so many times, but I was determined to keep going. The staff at Emmaus were supportive and they complimented me on refusing to give up.

One of the team, Graham, helped me to get clothing together for my interviews so I could make the right impression.

I spent 18 months looking for work, applying for so many jobs and in January 2020 I got an job as a HGV driver. My employers know about my background but believe in giving people a second chance.

I now work five days a week driving all over the country, and I really like it. Although I could have stayed within the community for as long as I wanted to, Emmaus encourages companions to move on, and their support have me the extra oomph I needed to do that.  I have moved out of the Emmaus Hertford community and into a property nearby. I really enjoy living independently; I have the freedom to come and go as I please and do my own cooking.

I’ve no doubt that if I hadn’t been told about Emmaus I would still be on the streets and would still be unemployed. I now feel really hopeful for the future, I feel much better about myself and I love my job.