I joined the team at Emmaus Village Carlton in 2018 and although I knew my role was as the Catering Manager I didn’t really know what to expect. The early days were full of sleepless nights and lists upon lists because there was so much I wanted to do and I could see great potential in the community.

I spent a lot of time just getting to know the companions, what worked and what didn’t and just listening. To start with I tackled the operational issues that were straight forward for me to tackle: paperwork, daily operations of the kitchen and all the things a Catering Manager does on a daily basis.

I knew there was much more that the community had to offer me and that I had to offer our community. Over time I’ve put together basic cooking lessons for our companions to attend if they wish to, teaching basic skills and recipes that they can take with them when they are ready to move on. I have also organised in-house training sessions covering kitchen operations, basic food safety and allergen awareness. To go alongside these I’ve sourced industry recognised certificated courses so that any companions who decide to follow a job in hospitality have these qualifications in place.

I enjoy passing my knowledge on to our companions, expanding their skills on a daily basis and playing a part in helping them to regain their confidence.

This role is one that makes a real difference and one that I am proud to be lucky enough to have.

Our companions work incredibly hard and without their support I could not do my job. Their willingness to learn new skills and to make Emmaus Village Carlton a success is admirable, especially when they have their own struggles. I have a lot of respect for each one of them.

I’m looking forward to many more years of supporting and working alongside companions, passing on my knowledge and skills, and helping them to regain confidence and the sense of worth every person deserves.