I am originally from Northern Ireland, but I have spent most of my life living and working abroad. A lot of the time I would find myself in countries where poverty and homelessness was common and it was during this time that I realised how lucky and privileged my life was. I eventually returned to the UK and found myself in London, where I quite naively didn’t expect to see the same problems.
Seeing how prevalent homelessness was in London, I began searching for volunteer opportunities. There are many worthwhile charities to choose from, but I chose Emmaus because of the work they do in supporting formerly homeless people for as long as needed. There is no time limit for how long they stay and I think this makes a huge difference to rebuilding their lives.
I have now volunteered since September 2017, and I visit the charity’s community based in Plumstead every two weeks to help build and upcycle furniture in the workshop. As a general rule I help out in the workshop, and I’ve become a bit of a dab hand at building furniture. Emmaus want you to be happy in your volunteering role and help you discover your hidden talents, and I’m truly grateful to them for the opportunity.
My favourite part of volunteering is meeting and working alongside the companions. I have had the opportunity to meet so many welcoming and interesting people and I can only hope I am helping in some positive way and my help is benefiting others. I would say to anyone looking to volunteer at Emmaus to just do it, and you’ll find yourself within a community of interesting, talented, friendly people who’ll enrich your life.