After spending a few weeks sleeping rough in London and subsequently living in three Emmaus communities, Andrew has now started a new job at a holiday park and is working to move out and into his own flat. Here’s his journey.

Before joining Emmaus, I was sleeping rough in London as a result of mental health pressures following deaths in my family and a relationship breakdown. When I applied to join Emmaus Gloucestershire and was offered a place, I was really nervous, but everyone was very welcoming and I soon felt at home. I lived at Emmaus Glasgow for a time after that, but I’m originally from Wales, and so I ended up coming to Emmaus South Wales in 2022 so I could be closer to family and friends.

After some time, I felt ready to move on, and so I began applying for jobs. I had gained a lot of experience at Emmaus that complemented my previous work experience and I knew would help me take this step forward. After a few months of applying, I recently went for an interview for a job at a holiday park, and they hired me on the spot for a full-time position.

I started last Monday and I’m loving it so far. The job is allowing me to meet lots of different people in a completely different environment, which is very refreshing after living and working at Emmaus for five years. It feels strange, in a way, but it’s the good sort of strange. Gaining this independence and finally getting back to work out in the world after so long feels really good.

I’m still living at Emmaus for the moment, and will be for another five or six weeks while I sort myself out. Even if I don’t really class myself as a companion anymore, Emmaus is going to support me in taking the final steps to find a flat for myself and move on in the next few weeks. I currently take the bus to my place of work in Porthcawl, which is only 10 minutes away from the community in Bridgend, and I’m planning to stay in the area when I move out.

My time at Emmaus really helped me in finding this opportunity. While at Emmaus, I had a position of responsibility as a Companion Rep, representing companions at external Emmaus meetings and reporting back to my community. Working at the community and in the shops with staff and companions was also very valuable work experience, as being able to work as part of a team was a big part of the interview. I’ve also worked on Lucie the Land Train, which was really fun and provided me with experience in tourism and entertainment. This is great for my new job, as I’ll be working in an amusement arcade – helping customers with virtual reality rides, filling up the ticket machines, handing over prizes and working the push machines, all that sort of stuff.

I’d like to say thank you to Emmaus and its supporters for giving me the opportunities I needed to be able to do what I’ve done. If anyone needs help or support, come to Emmaus, give it a go. They’ll help sort your life out. They’ve certainly done so for me.

Read more about Andrew’s time before Emmaus and living at the community here.