My name is Margy, I’m from Litherland and have been involved with Emmaus Merseyside since 2015. I was very welcomed from the first day and have met a lot of lovely people along my journey who’ve inspired me so much.
Back when I started, I was unemployed and felt I needed something to help build my confidence back up. I took part in a course from the Jobcentre and for the two-week work placement I chose Emmaus Merseyside. After it finished, I decided I wanted to stay on and support Emmaus, so I started volunteering.
I started off by doing bits in the Charity Superstore and workshop because I love making things and fixing furniture. I did quite a bit of cleaning of donated items and some customer service, but at that time I preferred to be in the workshop.
As a volunteer I learned a lot and was given the opportunity to attend many courses. I achieved different qualifications to help improve my career chances, which was very useful. Whilst volunteering with Emmaus I did a six-week joinery course, a calligraphy course in Toxteth, first aid, manual handling and an Upcycle-It training course.
Emmaus also put me on a security course and I successfully got my badge. I did security at the community building before it opened and with that experience, got a job doing security for a different organisation. I still stayed on as a volunteer at Emmaus though as I love it here. I just wanted to help in any way I can.
After the community building opened, I volunteered to get rooms ready, cleaned a lot and helped with anything that needed doing. In the workshop I did various jobs from upcycling, PAT testing, repairing furniture and also making items such as garden planters, and Christmas reindeers out of wood which were a huge success.
I initially secured a part-time job at Emmaus Merseyside, helping to coordinate the day to day work in the Charity Superstore. I was in that role for about two years, fitting it in alongside my security work. When the old Superstore manager left, Emmaus advertised the role, I applied and thankfully got it. I gave my other job up and came to work for Emmaus full-time. If I could sum up my journey in one line; I was born in Liverpool but made in Emmaus.
When I am at Emmaus, I feel part of a community where everybody helps each other out. I enjoy seeing people improve so much. Once companions start working in the Superstore, you see their confidence build and it’s great to watch them grow. Seeing them move on is a good thing as well.
Emmaus to me brings a brighter future for people, helps rebuild lives by giving companions a stable home and helps them find a positive way to move forward with their lives. I love the atmosphere – it has kept me motivated and it has allowed me to give something back.
In the lockdowns we’ve been keeping ourselves busy, not just in the shop but also the house and garden too. The garden is coming along a hell of a lot now because we’ve got some new volunteers working with companions and producing some great work.
As well as the Covid-19 crisis and all the lockdowns, it was a bit hard through 2020 as we had a lot of people come and go. Now though, the house is settled, it feels like a good community and we’ve got some great plans for the future.
As well as all the great work in the garden, we’re in the process of fitting out a new upcycling workshop at our Charity Superstore. This will be a better space than we had before, allowing companions and volunteers to work together upcycling furniture. We also hope to run more upcycling workshops for the public too.
I absolutely love the customers and think that they love us too. We’re so lucky and thrilled to have the supporters we do, shopping and donating items to help our charity. Many of them come in here regularly, have been coming in for years and get to know all the companions.
When we’ve been shut due to lockdowns, I’ve had customers ring up say; “I can’t wait for yous to open up, I’ve really missed you”. Having the customers we do is a real boost and I cannot thank them enough for their continued support.
To everyone who supports Emmaus Merseyside I say spread the word about what we do. It’s a great place, helping people in need and you’re guaranteed to find a bargain.