A former beneficiary of Emmaus Leeds has been recognised for his solidarity and fundraising efforts with a national Emmaus Hidden Heroes Award, run in partnership with Room to Reward.

Nicholas Derigs, aged 38 and from Gildersome, was nominated for the Solidarity award by fellow community members at Emmaus Leeds.

Nominees are put forward based on their commitment, dedication and determination to go above and beyond to increase the positive impact of Emmaus communities. Winners are then selected by an independent judging panel.

Nick, Emmaus Hidden Heroes Award winner, said: “I was very shocked to get the Emmaus Hidden Heroes Award as I really was never expecting to get anything back. The help I received from everyone in Emmaus was enough. It’s like having a new family being part of Emmaus Leeds.

“Thanks to everyone who has helped and been there for me in my time of need and I hope that someone else gets an opportunity like I had through my efforts of fundraising.”

Nick joined Emmaus Leeds in 2014 and completed multiple fundraisers for good causes locally, nationally and internationally. He also provided personal support to his fellow community members in their times of need.

Despite recently securing a job and moving into his own flat, Nick continues to volunteer at Emmaus Leeds and plans to take part in more charity fundraising activities this year.

Emmaus UK has teamed up with Room to Reward to offer Emmaus companions, volunteers, trustees and staff the opportunity to be recognised by their peers and win a two-night break to reward them for the work they do for Emmaus.

Room to Reward was created to say thank you to “Hidden Heroes” – the inspirational people who do so much in the name of charity. Winners are awarded a two-night bed and breakfast hotel stay for themselves and a guest at a choice of hotels throughout the UK and Europe.

Donald Forrester, Chief Executive of Emmaus Leeds, said: “Nick came to Emmaus Leeds as a homeless man looking for stability and a fresh start. Throughout his time living and working in our community, he was always there to help others so this award is fully justified. Very well done to Nick from all at Emmaus Leeds!”

Emmaus Leeds supports 26 formerly homeless people by providing them with a home and work in a community setting. The charity is one of 29 Emmaus communities across the UK, supporting more than 800 people who have experienced homelessness.

To find out more about the work of Emmaus Leeds head to www.emmaus.org.uk/leeds. For more information, to donate an item or get involved as a volunteer call 0113 248 4288 or visit Emmaus Leeds at St Mary’s Street, Leeds, LS9 7DP.