Friday 21 September 2018

Ken's Story - 9 Years Working with Emmaus

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As of October this year, our bookkeeper Ken will have been working with Emmaus Lambeth for 9 years. Over the past 9 years Ken has seen Emmaus Lambeth grow from a small organisation to one that now has multiple shops, spanning a wide area. With the opening of our new Croydon community building and Purley store just around the corner, we thought we would sit down with Ken and reflect upon the last 9 years.

‘When I first joined Emmaus Lambeth, we did not have a staff member dedicated to the bookkeeping and accounts. Instead these were regularly being sent to an external Chartered Accountant in Cambridge, which could make life more difficult when it came to processing physical invoices etc,. It made sense that as the community and businesses grew that this work was undertaken on site.

On the retail/social enterprise side, things were quite a bit different to what they are like now in Lambeth. Initially in Lambeth we only had the two shops in Knights Hill, whereas we now have both of these shops plus our “Lofty” store at 88 Knights Hill, the furniture warehouse, and boutique. We also have a retail space in Brixton, which acts as the hub for the Emergency Support Scheme that we run on behalf of Lambeth Council. In addition, we have expanded into Surrey in recent years, with a major retail space in Wallington, plus shops in Carshalton and Caterham.

Income wise, Emmaus Lambeth has grown massively over the last 5 years. From our published accounts you can see that we have doubled our income from £645k to over £1.3m. This growth is incredibly humbling, and we could not do what we do if it was not for the generosity of the donations we receive from the general public.

My job can require a lot of hard work, as I am fully aware that I need to constantly be on top of everything. It requires good organisational and scheduling skills, as the workload can rapidly add up. I have loved doing this job for the last 9 years. A lot of people think that accounts and bookkeeping sounds really dull, but it is genuinely something that I enjoy.

An especially rewarding part of the job has been being able to witness the impact Emmaus Lambeth has on our companions. Our offices are attached to Bobby Vincent House, where our 27 Companions live. I am therefore fully immersed within community life. Over the years we have had some companions move on to become staff here at Emmaus Lambeth, which is always rewarding to see. Being a community, it is always sad to see a companion leave, however, it is good to know that Emmaus has often supported them to move on to either a job or a place of their own. Witnessing this really does put our work in to perspective.’

Thank you Ken to all the hard work you have put in over the last 9 years, we really could not have done this without you! Here is to the next 9+ years!

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