We are delighted to announce that an Emmaus Village Carlton companion has been recognised with a national Emmaus Hidden Heroes Award, run in partnership with Room to Reward.

Christian Coley (47) was nominated for the award for his volunteer work helping local rough sleepers.

Previously homeless for 16 months, Christian is currently supported by Emmaus Village Carlton and is now heavily involved with volunteering in Bedford and Northampton town centres, offering help to those sleeping rough. He is a key member of the Emmaus ‘Rucksack Stomp’: our team of formerly homeless companions which regularly visits each town, carrying large rucksacks filled with food and useful supplies to hand out.

Hidden Heroes Award nominees are put forward based on their commitment, dedication and determination to go above and beyond to increase the positive impact of Emmaus communities. Winners are then selected by an independent judging panel.

Christian said: “I was so shocked when my name was announced; I couldn’t believe it. The award means so much to me. The volunteer work I do is very exhausting but very rewarding.

“It’s a way to pay forward the kindness shown to me.

“I couldn’t do it each week without the help of my fellow Emmaus volunteers though – we all pull together because we know how it feels to be without a home; if we can help those who are sleeping rough, even a little bit, then it’s a job well done.”

Emmaus UK has teamed up with Room to Reward to offer Emmaus companions, volunteers, trustees, staff, and those supported by the charity the opportunity to be recognised by their peers and win a two night break to reward them for the work they do for Emmaus. Room to Reward was created to say thank you to “Hidden Heroes” – the inspirational people who do so much in the name of charity. Winners are awarded a two night bed and breakfast hotel stay for themselves and a guest at a choice of hotels throughout the UK and Europe.

Emmaus Village Carlton Chair of Trustees Lucia Smith said: “We’re very proud of Christian’s achievements. He’s so passionate about supporting people sleeping on the streets and works hard to encourage others to join the Rucksack Stomp volunteer team. It is fantastic that now his efforts have been recognised with an Emmaus Hidden Heroes Award.”

Anyone wishing to support the work of the Emmaus Village Carlton Rucksack Stomp can donate sleeping bags as well as warm clothing such as hats, gloves and scarves. Supplies can be dropped off Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am – 4.30pm at the Emmaus Village Carlton reception building, School Lane, Carlton MK43 7LQ

Many thanks for your support