Emmaus Preston is celebrating Volunteers Week with a very special thank you to 83-year-old John who marks a milestone with the homelessness charity this year.
The super-fit Prestonian, who pips the youngest volunteer by about six decades, clocks up ten years of supporting Emmaus’ work, helping people building back from homelessness.
John started volunteering as a van driver and now sorts clothing at one of the charity’s shops on Fishergate, alongside fellow volunteer Caroline, and third-year UCLan student volunteer Zuleika. You can read Zuleika’s story here.
Asked about his secret to long and fulfilled volunteering, John, (pictured right) said: “I run five and a half miles three times a week. It’s good to keep fit. You’ve not got time to let things lapse.
“I have worked for seven days a week all of my life, from being a kid. I’ve worked the markets and all sorts of things. I owned care homes that I built myself. My care homes integrated people into the community, like Emmaus Preston, which is why I volunteer here. I have the same values and ideas of looking after people and caring for people.”
Emmaus Preston provides a home, personalised support, meaningful work and training for people with experience of homelessness. Everyone within the Emmaus community works together in the sale of donated and new furniture and fashion at three shops on Fishergate and one of the UK’s largest charity shops, Emmaus Preston Megastore on Brookfield Street.
John explained “What makes Emmaus special is that you are able to be at the level where the companions [the name given to people supported by the charity] are and help these people feel more comfortable. That’s why we all wear a uniform. We are all part of Emmaus. That’s important. I like to feel like I identify with the companions, and the companions who are brought into the community come here treated with respect. I get a lot of pleasure from helping them.”
To thank all of its volunteers, Emmaus Preston is presenting special celebratory certificates during Volunteers’ Week, with special mention for John, who kindly shares his story here.
Volunteer Coordinator for Emmaus Preston, Lisa, said: “John is an incredibly inspiring person for all of us at Emmaus Preston. We want to thank all our volunteers, especially John who reaches a milestone in volunteering this year. John has an incredible work ethic.
“He is a great asset to the team and we’re very fortunate he chose Emmaus as a place he feels comfortable volunteering, with people of all backgrounds and all ages. Thanks to all our volunteers for the time, effort and energy to help support people to build back within the local community.”
If you would like to volunteer for Emmaus Preston, there are plenty of roles and opportunities available on our volunteer page here. Take a look and apply online today.