This week we had a chat with our companion Ian to discuss his situation prior to Emmaus, and how his life has improved since then. 

Before Emmaus: 

I was a single parent bringing up my two kids, my son and daughter. My daughter decided to live with her Mum and I started going through depression afterwards, though at the time I didn’t know it. I was eventually evicted and had to give my son to social services because I was about to be homeless. I lived on the streets for a while in my tent by Kings Cross. I was given a small grant by Outreach which allowed me to get a small accommodation in Tulse Hill. A situation occurred which interrupted my ability to continue staying there and I ended up living in a tent again in West Norwood Park. I contacted Outreach but they were not able to help me again, but they did refer me to Emmaus.  

How has joining Emmaus changed your life? 

When I first arrived here, I was running at 50%, but now I’m running at 90%. Emmaus has always been there to lift me up when I need it, and to encourage me to accept new opportunities.  

I appreciate that they have given me the opportunity to work out and use my skills effectively. I don’t like sitting around, and being at Emmaus gives me the chance to get some physical work done in a team which is where I’m in my element and it is very rewarding. I’m a dedicated worker and I’m always one of the first in and one of the last out. 

Doing this job has taken me to so many places, some where I never would have been to previously, and the people I meet don’t assume things about me or my past. I feel proud that despite my history they still have trust in me, and that my past is not important or defining. It’s a positive change from 10 years ago.  

Emmaus has been a consistent source of support for me, always being there when I need help. I have left Emmaus twice to pursue different ventures, and although they did not work out, Emmaus’s door was always open, and they were very understanding.  

What roles have you taken in the Emmaus community? 

I have had lots of opportunities to take on different roles in the community. I have learnt new skills that have opened my eyes to what I can achieve. I was a CA (Companion Assistant), and a CSA (Community Support Assistant). These roles have a lot of responsibilities including being a key holder, first aider, fire marshal etc.  

Emmaus will only work for you if you’re willing to make it work, you have to put in to get out.  

What are your goals for the future? 

I used to do door work at the Brixton Academy, and I am looking into regaining my license. With the license I will be fully qualified to do doorman jobs for different venues which is something I’m interested in doing. With Emmaus’s help I found a course that would allow me to regain my license, I’ve got confidence and I know that I can do this for myself, and that I want to do this for myself.