I came to Emmaus Leeds in 2004 as a part-time driver. In 2011 they switched to full-time drivers so I finished the job and they asked me if I’d like to volunteer. From that moment I have volunteered one day a week, from June 2011 to the present time.
I enjoy coming to Emmaus Leeds. I’ve been retired now for quite a number of years and volunteering is a great way of putting something back into the community. I also volunteer on a Friday at a scheme called South Leeds Live at Home where we take people shopping in a minibus.
All my life I was in the Fire Service and my wife worked in a hospital. We just have this attitude that we’ve done our work, we’re retired and we can put something back. My wife does volunteer work as well. We’re really quite happy spending a couple of days a week volunteering with people.
At Emmaus Leeds I help out in the sorting room. Donated items come in and, along with other volunteers, we sort them out. Ones that are good we put into the shops, others that are not so good we send to the rag man. Other stuff donated that we think is quality we put to one side for eBay or auction.
Being part of the Emmaus Leeds community is brilliant. I’ve always thought it was brilliant since the moment I came in 2004. I went straight into the ethos of Emmaus; what it’s for, why it’s done and I just think it’s a brilliant scheme.
Volunteering has given me a new perspective and a new look on life as a whole. I’m quite happy in my life, with my wife and family, and we manage. I’ve seen it from the other side though and people who have nothing. The Emmaus ethos is all about serving those less fortunate than yourself. To be able to help people improve their own life is something that is really good and we should all aspire to.
Since 2004 I’ve met many people who’ve progressed as companions. I remember many of the lads who have done really well and enriched their lives. I’ve seen them at Emmaus Leeds, when they’ve gone on the moving-on process and I’ve seen them since, working – it’s just brilliant.
As I say to anyone who’s got spare time; come down to Emmaus, we always want volunteers. If you can’t come to Emmaus, there’s plenty of other charities that need volunteers. If you can give something back that helps other people, then why not?