My life started to go downhill whilst I was at University. I had been there for four years and did not complete my degree. I ended up coming away with a HND in Politics instead. During my time at University, I also became accustomed to the party lifestyle and everything that comes with it.
I didn’t have a job and was told to apply for as many jobs as possible by the Job Centre in order to keep my Job Seekers Allowance. I found it hard that I had to apply for certain types of jobs, when I knew I was capable of so much more.
After a time, my housing benefit was stopped and I couldn’t afford to pay my rent anymore. I decided that I was going to leave Sheffield. I regularly used to walk in the Peak District, so I got my camping stuff and all of my money together and headed for Sheffield bus station. The first bus was to London, so that’s where I went. I’m very talkative and make friends easily, so I wasn’t worried about going to a new place.
After talking to some locals once I arrived in London, they agreed to let me sleep on their sofa for a night. I then stayed in an eco-village in London for around six weeks, before traveling to Lambeth in search of somewhere else.
I used to go to Clapham Common and fish on the lake there; getting my fishing licence was the first thing I did when I arrived. I was staying at Rushford Street Hostel when they told me about Emmaus Lambeth. I didn’t want to be on benefits anymore, so Emmaus sounded perfect.
When I arrived, they were so friendly. I sat down on the sofa, turned the TV on and was offered a cup of tea. I thought, ‘this place looks promising’. In Lambeth, I was given access to training and gained NVQ qualifications. I then went on to have a ‘staff in training’ job as an Assistant Community Leader at Emmaus St Albans, where I later became a deputy for a year. I was loving it!
Unfortunately, due to two close family members becoming ill I needed to move closer to home and give up the job role. I tried to get a place at Emmaus Sheffield but they were full, so Emmaus Leeds was the closest option.
Not long after I had a streak of luck, two rooms became available at Emmaus Sheffield and I jumped at the opportunity to be closer to my family, I really enjoyed living in my home city. After two years at Emmaus Sheffield, I found myself wasting my money on things I didn’t need. I needed to make a change.
I saved up for a camper van and lived in that for a while before being offered a room in a house with a friend. I did support work for the council 12 months, before working for an agency doing residential and outreach support.
My friend who I was living with at the time decided to sell her house, I couldn’t afford to rent anywhere decent, and I didn’t want to go back to a poor standard of living. I was also working long shifts and wasn’t coping well with the lack of sleep. I decided to go back to Emmaus as I knew I would have somewhere nice to call home and a variety of job options.
I’ve been at the Emmaus South Wales community since June this year and I really enjoy being here. I carry out a range of different jobs including cooking and working in the shops. I have recently been offered the responsibility of running one of our shops for three days a week. I can’t wait!
Looking to the future, I plan to gain my thirty-two tonne Lorry Licence, which I am already in the process of doing. I hope this will open new job opportunities for me, not only at Emmaus, but also in future, if I wish to move on.