I have been living at Emmaus Hertfordshire since October 2014. Prior to me moving in, life was a constant struggle. Following the loss of my son, I spiralled into a state of depression that lasted 11 years – I felt angry at the world and I was always arguing with people and pushing them away. I realised I was depressed and began self-harming. Once in the cycle, it’s so difficult to get out. I wanted to hide my past from people so I started telling lies and ended up believing them, it was a big part of my depression. I took up smoking cannabis – back then I would just roll up all day long, just to try and numb the pain.

I hit rock bottom, and discovered a day centre in Clapham Common called the Ace of Clubs. The manager there recommended Emmaus Lambeth to me, but there was a huge wait for a room. After volunteering for six months with them, I was still waiting and I went back on the streets feeling a bit disheartened. I found myself in Central London again and spent my days in and out of St Martins in the Fields, where I was given a new support worker. She asked me whether I would consider Emmaus Hertfordshire and the rest is history.

Since I’ve been here, the staff have been so supportive. They’ve encouraged me to see counsellors and I really needed that. I’m doing a lot better and dealing with my demons head on. My daily life revolves around driving the vans, working in the kitchen, PAT testing electrical goods and serving customers in the shop – I love all the jobs really, I don’t have a favourite. I’ve even been to the Emmaus out in Lasi, Romania to see how they do things, which were surprisingly similar to how we run our shops here.

Now that I have been living here over five years, I have started to think about moving into my own place and have just started a City and Guilds course in PAT Testing so I will be able to hopefully find a job.

To all who support Emmaus Hertfordshire, thanks so much for your donations. Your furniture helps us to support each other and change our lives. Nowadays, my only vice is my morning coffee.