From escaping a vicious cycle of substance abuse, to sleeping rough in a car park for ten nights, one of our former companions Glen turned everything around when he came to stay with us here at Emmaus Lambeth.

After 5 years of being a companion, to 2 years doing communications, fundraising and volunteer recruitment for us, Glen has recently begun a new role on a short term secondment as a community support worker in the Emmaus South Wales community.

This is his story.

‘I became homeless after trying to get out of a rut of substance and alcohol abuse. Having gone to prison 5 times in 3 years I knew it was time to eventually do something positive with my life. Like in prison, I was left to my own devices, survival was down to me.

I removed myself from the surroundings which encouraged drugs, alcohol and violence and moved to Brighton where I had enough money to live on for about a month. When it came to asking for housing help from the local council, there was little they could do for me as I had no dependants or major drug or alcohol problems.  As a result I slept rough in a car park for ten nights before moving on to a night shelter, which eventually referred me to Emmaus Lambeth.

The ten nights spent in the car park were tough. There was no help from any others; it was all down to me. At Emmaus the atmosphere was complete different. Emmaus Lambeth did not just offer a roof over my head, but a community where everyone works and lives together. In the car park I encountered many other rough sleepers, but we all merely co-existed, Emmaus is a stark contrast to this – where everyone works together and friendships are made.

Whilst staying at Emmaus I also volunteered for other homeless organisations. Solidarity is a big part of the Emmaus ethos, and I felt that my voluntary work contributed to this. Following my experience as a previously homeless person I saw that Thames Reach were advertising for volunteers and for about 6 months I would go out regularly on Saturday evenings doing night shifts, reaching out and offering support for homeless people. This usually involved liaising with the homeless organisation No Second Night Out to try and find those who needed it a bed on a short term basis, to assess their situations.

Eventually I heard about a vacancy for communications and fundraising work here at Emmaus Lambeth so I attended an interview. To my delight, I received full-time employment within Emmaus Lambeth, moving on from my position as a companion. Following 2 years of employment here at Emmaus Lambeth I was offered the role of community support worker on a short term secondment at Emmaus South Wales. I am now currently working there until January 2019. This experience has been invaluable as I hope to one day be able to run my own community.’

For information on Thames Reach go to:

For information on joining as a companion click here.

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