In November 2019, local man John (33) experienced problems with claiming housing benefit and eventually found himself with nowhere to live.

Our Hinckley-based homelessness charity Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland stepped in to help. John is now being supported to turn his life around and is sharing his story on World Homeless Day (10 October).

When John was a teenager, a series of unfortunate circumstances led to him sleeping on the streets for a while: “It wasn’t a good experience at all and when I realised it might happen again last year, I did all I could to find an alternative. A few years ago I actually volunteered at an Emmaus charity shop, so when I found myself on the brink of homelessness, I remembered them. I found out that the community in Hinckley was my nearest and got in touch.”

John was offered a home for as long as he needs it, along with the support he needs: “The staff are really helpful and are always there to listen. I’ve also been suffering with mental health problems following a bereavement and they’re helping me find specialist support groups.”

Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland provides a home, support and meaningful work to 16 formerly homeless individuals. Some stay for a while as they gain confidence and skills before they feel ready to move on to independent living; others are in need of longer-term support and are able to stay for as long as they need to. Funds are raised through out two Hinckley charity shops: the Emmaus Emporium on Stockwell Head and La Boutique on Castle Street.

John helps to run our charity’s van service, delivering and collecting donated furniture for resale in store: “I’m enjoying it here, especially being able to work every day. It’s good to feel like I’m able to put something back into the community. The routine is really helpful because I like to be out and about, doing something with my days.

“I’m just started driving lessons and I’d like to look into other training opportunities too. If I hadn’t reached out to Emmaus, I would probably have ended up on the streets again, so I’m really grateful.”

If you have been inspired by John’s story and want to help, it can be as simple as donating unwanted furniture, clothing or bric-a-brac, or visiting our two Hinckley charity shops, enabling us to continue our vital work with formerly homeless people. Ways you can support Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland.