Local homelessness charity Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney is on the lookout for people wanting to kick-start their year by volunteering in its community and charity shops in Ditchingham and Bungay.

The charity has several roles available covering retail, admin, social media, property maintenance, upcycling, furniture repair, gardening and van driving. Current volunteers are a mixture of people of all ages and backgrounds, who are passionate about supporting a local charity.

Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney provides a home for as long as needed and meaningful work for up to 23 people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion, offering them an alternative route out of homelessness within a supportive environment. People supported by Emmaus work full-time in the charity’s two second-hand shops at Belsey Bridge Road, Ditchingham and on Market Place in Bungay to gain new skills and work experience.

To celebrate the essential support of volunteers, Lynda Fulcher is sharing her experience after volunteering at Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney for 18 months:

“I began searching for volunteer work when I retired from my 12-year Customer Service role at Aviva. I didn’t know Emmaus existed before volunteering, even though I only live 10 miles away from their community in Ditchingham. I was amazed by the work that the charity does and now I volunteer two or three times a week helping in the stock room, sorting the clothing and linen, or helping in the office.”

Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney aim to provide volunteers with meaningful responsibilities and full training, but encourage people to also become a part of the community:

“I was provided with training when I first started, but the best thing about volunteering here is that you can make your own suggestions too and that really does make me feel like I’m making a difference and that my time spent volunteering is valued.”

Volunteers not only play an important role in offering their skills, knowledge and experience to help support the charity, but they also receive many benefits in return:

“Volunteering at Emmaus has given me the opportunity to get out and do things again. I meet new people every time I volunteer and I feel useful. I didn’t leave the house much before this role, but now I have made some great friends while volunteering. The role has really brought me out of myself, it is lovely.”

Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney provide a supportive environment that gives people the time needed to rebuild their lives so that they can address any issues that led to homelessness and recover from the devastating effects that homelessness can cause. Volunteers are required to work alongside people currently being supported by the charity, who are from many different backgrounds and personalities:

 “I get to know most of the people living here as they rotate between the different areas of the social enterprise. Working with them is a great experience, and they really do make you feel involved. Some of them come out of their way to say hello or help with heavy lifting – it makes me feel part of the team, and part of their home.”

Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney offers all volunteers an opportunity to develop their skills and gain experience for a worthwhile cause. All volunteers receive lunch and travel expenses on the days that they volunteer.

To find out more about the roles on offer visit the ‘Support Us’ section of the Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney website. To apply to become a volunteer, call 01986 895444 or visit the Emmaus community and second-hand shop at Belsey Bridge Road, Ditchingham, NR35 2DT.