I first heard about Emmaus seven years ago when I visited Emmaus Village Carlton as a customer. I met my partner here and we actually had our first date in the Bistro.

Years later, we were living together but our finances got tough. We ended up sleeping on a beach for a period of time and knew we needed extra support. It was then that we approached Emmaus for help and we’ve been living at Village Carlton for the past nine months.

It’s great being part of the community here. I’ve met people that I would have never normally met. Everyone who lives here is amazing in one way or another. Living and working together can sometimes be tough but ultimately it’s brilliant. If you need to make a cup of tea and talk to someone, there’s always someone around.

For me, the support that Emmaus offers is so helpful.

The Support Team have just arranged for me to receive specialist counselling and I really feel like my mental health is now being taken care of.

I like the work element of being in Emmaus; the staff listen to you if you’re interested in working in a certain area and they try their best to let you do that. I enjoy working on reception as it’s different to what I’m used to. It’s nice speaking to customers and being more autonomous in my daily work.

I also volunteer my time to help run the weekly Rucksack Stomp. We visit Northampton and Bedford town centres and offer food, supplies and support to those sleeping rough. I really believe in the Emmaus ethos of helping those who suffer most – it’s a way of life. Even when I leave Emmaus that will stick with me.

I used to be a teaching assistant so I’m passionate about education. Emmaus UK provided funding to help me continue my foundation degree in Educational Studies. It was important for me to do this as it meant a lot and I didn’t want my living situation to affect my goals. Being able to carry on gave me a chance to expand my abilities and skills; I now want to use those skills to help others. I’m particularly passionate about going into schools and training teachers to recognise signs of homelessness. I come from a well educated family and yet it’s happened to me – homelessness can happen to anyone from any background. It doesn’t discriminate. I’ve made a presentation about this and I’m now ready to start contacting local schools to offer my services.

I love the Emmaus ethos. For now, I’m working on my mental health, spending time with family and friends, and life is looking up again.

Emmaus help so many people. I’m very grateful that I knew to ask for their support when I needed it most.