My name is Jack and I’m 28, almost 29 years old. I first came to Emmaus Salford in June 2021.

Early life

I was born in Chorley and my parents split up when I was just a baby, I lived in Chorley until I was about 12 then moved to Leyland with my stepdad. I actually did okay in high school – I was a bit lazy but went on to college to do a public service level 2 course as I wanted to go into the army and do engineering. I did all of the training but I found out I couldn’t get in because I’d had polyps. I was diagnosed with autism at 18 years old and I don’t think that helped either.

 The ‘feral’ years

I went on to get a job at McDonald’s, where I stayed for two years and then went on to do some landscape gardening. This is where my ‘feral’ years, as my mum calls them, began. I started getting into drugs and got arrested and got a 12-month suspended sentence. I was still working though, I got my forklift license and was working for a scrapyard company which is quite dangerous, to say I was taking drugs and clearly not following health and safety like I should have been. I ended up losing the job and spent a couple of years on the dole. During this time my family life became really fractured because of my actions. I lost so much weight and was like a stick, so I decided to put myself into rehab. I knew if I carried on it was either going to be prison, or death.


I entered rehab in Chorlton in a place called Betel. Betel helped so much but I had no freedom. For obvious reasons they don’t let you have a mobile phone, so I was only able to call my family for 15 minutes on a Saturday. You can’t go out alone and must be chaperoned to make sure you’re not falling off the wagon – it’s what a person needs in rehab – but after two years I felt ready to move on and live more independently.

Joining Emmaus

I had a couple of friends who came to Emmaus Salford, so I applied to move in and came here in June 2021. Since being here I’ve tried a bit of everything in terms of work, the van, the shops, the pantry, the warehouse and logistics, which has been good – and I met my girlfriend Julie here and we’ve been together for nearly a year now.

Starting work

Through Emmaus I’ve been able to start work with a company called We Are Footprint, who help construction companies with recruitment. I’m doing the building site course and recently passed my health and safety and Construction Skills Certification Scheme and will begin my work trials soon. It’s going to be phased into full time work and I’ll be able to stay at Emmaus Salford for a few months until I decide where I want to move to.

Reflecting on autism

It’s a nice feeling being at this point in my life, I am so different from when I first came here. I am learning how to manage my autism. I was diagnosed at 18 with level 2 and I sometimes found myself not wanting to be near people and being reclusive. Since coming here I’ve learnt more about it and I am in a stable relationship which helps, I have someone else who depends on me if you know what I mean?

I can’t say whether the autism triggered my past behaviours but if you would have asked me four years ago, I would have blamed it on that, but now I can take responsibility for my actions.

Changing your life with Emmaus

If you are serious about changing and you want to get your head sorted, Emmaus is the best place to be. The companionship is really important, I’ve made some great friends and there is always someone here for you when you’re having a bad day. You might not even realise you are having a bad day, but the connections are strong and people around you can just tell.

Emmaus is a great stepping stone for someone like me who has come from rehab and wants to be independent again. If you are willing to put the work in, there is so much you can change in your life and the support here helps.

The Future

I’m feeling good at the moment and really looking forward to getting back into work full-time. My plans are to save up, move out with Julie and start my life again.