I have volunteered with charities and social enterprises for several years and I am delighted to be involved with Emmaus Hertfordshire as a trustee after discovering the all-encompassing nature of its work to help people overcome homelessness.
I worked in financial services as an underwriter and broker for Lloyds of London. Initially, I was based in London before moving to Singapore where I spent ten years covering Asia and Australia. On returning to the UK at the beginning of 2017, I searched for charities that might find my financial skills and fundraising experience useful. My main aim was to find an organisation that I could get deeply involved with and dedicate a portion of my working week to instead of only helping in my spare time.
The work of Emmaus Hertfordshire stood out. I found it appealing that residents, known as companions, can stay for as long as they want and receive support for all aspects of their life and whatever problems they are facing. When discussing becoming a trustee, I wanted to volunteer and experience all the work that companions do, whether that be upholstery, helping in the workshop, cooking, working in the retail shops or on the vans. I wanted to know the organisation, the companions, and the staff to get a good understanding of how an Emmaus community works before officially becoming a trustee. This helped me to start from the ground and work up.
During my first few days, I spoke with a resident about how she works in all the shops, wherever she is needed, while also studying for Level 2 Maths on top of receiving retail training and regular counselling. This illustrates how worthwhile and varied the activities and opportunities are that are offered by Emmaus to people living in the community.
I have been a trustee since Spring 2019. When I return to work in early 2020, I won’t be able to volunteer my time as much, though the ongoing trustee commitments as well as specific projects will keep me closely involved with the social enterprise, charity and community.
Despite being involved with Emmaus Hertfordshire for a short time, I can see that there a lot of ideas for development here and I would like to support Emmaus for many years, helping in any way that I can. I am continually impressed by the work, courage and attitudes of the staff and companions and am grateful to be part of Emmaus.