Being out of work put me on a real downer. I also had problems trying to see my son so it just escalated. I wasn’t going out and just shutting myself off from friends, family, everyone. I was struggling with cannabis and drinking, eventually losing my tenancy.
I was sofa surfing for a while, staying with two different mates but, unfortunately, they were both alcoholics. It got to the point where I couldn’t live with them and I ended up on the streets. I wasn’t living rough for too long though and thankfully I met the staff at Emmaus.
I joined Emmaus Preston in August 2018. It was a shock joining the community at first but everyone made me feel so welcome and the hardest thing was remembering everybody’s name. I was really badly out of shape and I’d lost a lot of weight. The staff and companions knew I couldn’t do so much at first but they all helped me.
Once I got my strength built up it gave me confidence. Within two months I’d put the weight back on that I’d lost and got my fitness back. I now do a bit of everything here. Usually I sort the warehouse out, keep it organised and running smoothly. I work in the Emmaus shops, in the office, on the vans, serving customers and working on the tills. I also help other companions learn the job and settle in.
I’m enjoying being back in work because I was out of work for about two and a half years. It was really getting me down not being able to get a job. It’s good working with the lads that I live with, getting to know them all properly and keeping busy. I feel appreciated with what I’m doing and everyone seems to be happy with my work.
At Emmaus Preston I’ve already done my first aid training, a food hygiene course and I’m currently doing a leadership course. I’ve got a computer course coming up and I’m hoping to do the cycle repair course too.
My plan for the future is to stay here for the time being. I’m in a good place, I’m comfortable and don’t feel ready for leaving just yet. I’m currently getting some help to get my passport sorted and hope to take part in an Emmaus work camp overseas.
I can sum Emmaus up in two words – life changing. With my family, I was kind of the ‘black sheep’ and they’ve all been worried sick about me for years, but now they’re proud and not worried all the time. My sister recently rung me up and she wants me to be a godfather for her daughter. They know I’m doing well.
To all the people who support Emmaus I’d like to say thank you for everything. We wouldn’t be able to do it without your support.
If you’re ever struggling and you need help, and you’re willing to move on and want to try, this is the best place to come. You’ll always be made to feel welcome and, as long as you want to move forward and quit any bad habits, you’ll do well.