After living as a companion at Emmaus Leeds for almost 15 years, Dave has moved on into the next chapter of his life and started his retirement. Dave still returns to Emmaus Leeds twice a week to volunteer.
I am a Yorkshire man. I was born in Leeds in 1956. I am a bit of a loner. I like my own company. I am quite family oriented, and I like to get things done. I’m a hard worker. I have travelled quite extensively but I have lived most of my life in Leeds apart from doing three years in London and five years in the army. I’m an engineer by profession but I have spent most of my life working in the chemical industry.
Before coming to Emmaus I was married with children. Most of my family have moved abroad and I’ve only got my two sisters left in the UK.
I am quite a resourceful person and as soon as I had found out the way things worked, I got pointed in the direction of Emmaus by a lady from St Annes Resource Centre.
I spent many years as a companion and it’s been about six weeks since I went into retirement. So far, it’s very different. I am still volunteering because basically, I am bored. But I am quite happy. My new accommodation is in Leeds and it’s very nice and comfortable. Where I am living is for over 55’s only so there are no wild parties and there’s not a lot of noise.
Before retiring I went into the move on house (a two bed house owned by Emmaus Leeds to prepare companions for moving on into independent living). For the first couple of weeks there I was a bit disorientated but after that you soon settle down. The move on house is very nice and I think it’s a great policy.
The advice I would give someone joining Emmaus Leeds now is to get on your feet as soon as you can. I probably left it a little late but then again, I came as an older person. See it as a temporary stop gap to get back on your feet. I will always be grateful to Emmaus. It has been a great help.
In terms of work, because I was there so long, I had a go at just about everything. I used to run the workshop, repairing things and building things. I’ve worked in the shop too. The only thing I haven’t done is cooking in the kitchen! I can cook well for a family but the catering side is totally different.
I’m still volunteering at Emmaus twice a week for the foreseeable future. I am getting out and about more with my new free time, and more so when the weather picks up. I try to be purposeful in life. It feels different being there as a volunteer but in a good way.
Find out more about volunteering opportunities at Emmaus Leeds.