Our companion Steve has received a special medal in recognition of his long-standing involvement our homelessness charity Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland.

Steve has been supported by Emmaus for more than 20 years, following a long period of homelessness when he was younger. He has lived and worked in several Emmaus communities around the UK, until becoming a founding member of Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland when it opened in Hinckley 10 years ago.

To celebrate Steve’s longstanding involvement, he was recently presented with an Emmaus UK Founders’ Medal, as part of the Emmaus General Assembly which took place at the Hinckley Island Hotel on Sunday 12 June.

Emmaus communities support people who have experienced homelessness, by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to help rebuild their lives.

Steve is now incredibly passionate about the charity that helped turn his life around: “Before I found Emmaus, I was homeless for 18 years, living from day to day and not knowing when or if it would ever end. It was a very scary experience. I slept wherever I could, in so many different places. Sometimes it was in a park, or I’d find a secluded bench for the night. I felt completely alone, with no-one to help me through any of it; I got no support. That all changed when I found Emmaus.”

Since 2012, Steve has lived and worked here at Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland, and is a familiar face serving customers in our Emporium charity shop on Stockwell Head, Hinckley.

Our Community Support Officer Hayley Gall said: “This award is very much deserved. Steve has contributed so much; we’ve watched him grow in confidence and become a very important member of our Hinckley charity. He’s even taken part in numerous fundraising challenges over the years, raising money to help Emmaus continue to support more people after homelessness.”

Speaking about the award, Steve said “I’m so honoured and proud. There’s no two ways about it – Emmaus saved my life, and I’m very grateful. I’m now planning my retirement but I’m not going far – when I leave, I plan to come back and volunteer for Emmaus. The charity has helped me and so many other people, so it’s good to give back as much as possible.”

Read Steve’s full story here.