I started volunteering at Emmaus South Wales in the Cowbridge shop after I retired. I had always travelled out of Cowbridge during my career as a Civil Servant, so when I fully retired I wanted to do something in the town itself.

I’ve previously volunteered in homeless shelters, providing food to those who need it so Emmaus really stood out for me as a charity and that’s when I began volunteering some of my time.

I volunteer every Friday for around six hours. I tend to be known as ‘Book John’ as I usually organise the book and DVD sections, putting everything into order and generally tidying the area. I sometimes do the till if the shop manager needs a hand too.

Volunteering in the Emmaus shop in Cowbridge is great. It keeps me active and you get to know a wide range of people. There’s regular customers who come in every day, sometimes just for a chat. It’s a really community orientated shop with a great team of people working and volunteering there. The ambience in the shop is great and the items we sell are so quirky.

The Emmaus model is unique, as you get to volunteer alongside the companions, who are all living at Emmaus South Wales so they can rebuild their life. You can actually see and interact with the people the charity are supporting.

I visited the community home in Nant Lais a few months back and I was very impressed with the building and facilities. That’s when I realised that it’s not a hostel, it’s a home.