I first joined Emmaus Hull & East Riding in February 2023. Steve and Ricky from the Outreach team helped to get me off the streets and into Emmaus. I met them in Bridlington when I was homeless, and they managed to give me the support I needed.

It was a really nice feeling not to be homeless anymore, knowing that I was somewhere warm and could put my head down at night in safety. That stability helped me to slowly get my thoughts back together. When I first moved into Emmaus, I was a bit nervous. Although I’d done rehab years ago, moving into a place that I didn’t know much about was a bit scary.

After a few days settling in, I started helping within the Emmaus charity shops. I started off in the Newland shop and then the Whitefriargate Emporium but found my feet in the Emmaus Furniture Superstore. I’ve adapted the role to my capabilities – meeting and greeting people, serving customers and helping in any way I can.

Confidence building

In the Superstore I love the different types of people who come in. We have regulars and serve a wide range of people. You get told people’s life stories as they build up a relationship and trust you. Since joining Emmaus, I’d say I’m more confident. It’s unlocked a different side of me which has probably been locked away for years, mainly due to my addiction to gambling. I’ve batted it and it has totally driven me insane at times.

After two months at Emmaus I started to attend Hull Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and I’ve been attending twice a week since. The beauty is that I’ve got Hull GA and Emmaus, both working in tandem to hopefully bring out the Peter that hid behind gambling. I’m slowly coming out of it all and taking one day at a time.

I lived in Bridlington for three years and had jobs but quite a lot of my time was taken up with my gambling addiction. I’m still friends with my ex-landlady and go over and see her during my holidays. When I was buried in my addiction, I couldn’t appreciate anything and didn’t have time for people. I’ve made strides since those days and my message to people is don’t ever give up trying.

Community support

When I was living in Bridlington, I didn’t appreciate being beside the sea. When I visit now, and because my head is a bit clearer, I appreciate the sea and am starting to appreciate other things in life. I appreciate the people who I have around me, the customers and the beautiful space we have around our community home.

There is a good togetherness in this Emmaus community. We do look out for each other and care – just like a big family. Some days we don’t always get on and argue because we live together, eat together and work together all the time. I must admit though, where I am at, at the moment, I love waking up in the mornings and going down to see these people. I miss not seeing the people who have moved-on, because you start building up those relationships and friendships – it’s amazing.

In future, I’m due to get my hip done and I’m keen to do some fundraising. I get inspired when I read about people doing marathons or walks from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Once I get my hip sorted, I’m going to do something in solidarity with Hull GA and Emmaus, raising money for them both.