I’m Chloe, I’m 23 years old and I’m originally from Devon but I now live here in Leeds. I have been working as a support worker at Emmaus Leeds for a year and a half and I absolutely love it!

I went to university in Liverpool and got my degree in health and social care. It’s actually a bit of an ‘accident’ of how I got into support work. I did a placement in a homelessness shelter and then I fell in love with the idea of doing this job. I heard about Emmaus when I was working on street outreach, we went to check on someone to see how they were doing and I saw that they had completely turned their life around thanks to the Emmaus in Liverpool.

That’s when I decided that I wanted to work at Emmaus, it’s not just a hostel, it’s a place which gets someone out of the cycle of recurring homelessness. So, I set up job alerts and moved to Leeds and I was so lucky because a job came up here!

This is the best job I’ve ever had. The support is everything, and not just for the companions, but for staff. I get fully supported in my development. I’ve actually just signed up for a Homeless Link course which I’m excited about.

It’s so nice getting to know all of the companions and get to see them in a ‘work’ and personal environment, so sometimes I’ll chat to them whilst their contributing to the social enterprise, or perhaps I’ll meet them at their move-on property for a brew.

I’ve always wanted to help people; I’ve got a caring nature and I’ve really put my values into this job.

A typical day working at Emmaus

In the morning when I get into work, I start my day by checking my emails and catching up with anything I need to and then the rest of the day will be based around what a companion needs. So, booking in support meetings where we can talk about how they’re feeling and their mental health. We talk about jobs, if they feel like they are ready to get back into work and what type of job they want. If they’re not ready, we look at ways to help them. Support meetings can be the opportunity for them to have a listening ear to discuss what they want. A lot of people don’t always have that support network so it’s nice for them to have that. We do record our meetings, so I’ll then go off and spend time writing them up and then sometimes it’s good to have a walk around the community and check in on people as they get about their day. Work is different every day and I love that.

Why I love Emmaus

I love the community aspect at Emmaus Leeds, I don’t think a lot of people realise this, but the companions are so proud and protective of this place. They help and support each other so much and it’s actually like a family here. There’s a lot of stereotypes about people facing homelessness, you know like addiction, but sometimes people don’t understand that addiction is a mental health issue. There are people here because of addiction but there’s also people here because they have been in debt, or because they suffer with anxiety and other issues.

Here at Emmaus Leeds, we really try to build people’s confidence by getting them to try new things. Whether that’s work experience or learning a new skill, getting back into education or doing some training courses. We have people doing welding courses, PAT testing, forklift driving, security and more. There’s a group of companions that want to rent out football pitch to play football which is great! We want to empower our companions and I think that’s really important. We’re not here to mollycoddle, we’re here to support them and help them to get to a place where they are confident and happy.

This job is incredibly rewarding, and I just love working here. To anyone who’d like to become a support worker I’d say, volunteer at organisations who support people like we do. It’s the best way to find out if it’s the job for you.