Barbara's story

Volunteer Barbara

I live in Saddleworth but I’m originally from Yorkshire (don’t hold that against me) and I started volunteering at Emmaus in spring 2011 when I retired for the second time.

For 30-odd years I was a geography teacher in a secondary school and also head of careers and guidance. I then became a visitor for the Musicians Benevolent Fund for 11 years. Under times of stress I called it the malevolent beauticians’ fund. I visited ill musicians and elderly musicians all over the north of England.

We knew the then community Leader at Emmaus Mossley so I came down and had a tour of the community to find out more. I thought it seemed like a good idea to join as a volunteer. I was a bit apprehensive at first but I’ve always felt very secure here, very welcomed and I’ve been treated with nothing but courtesy and kindness.

Whilst I’m here as a volunteer my little niche is bedding and curtains. One day I’ll disappear under them! I basically get on with the work and can be quite bossy as that’s what I’ve been brought up to be as a teacher.

All my friends and acquaintances now know that I go to Emmaus so they let me have their unwanted goods. I’m always dropping off items on their behalf. I often go home with more than I came with because I sew and do patchwork. Being Yorkshire by birth, you be careful with things and recycle by instinct.

I find the companions a great folk. You don’t need to know what’s happened in their lives, they just get on with it and remain positive. I’ve become absolutely convinced that Emmaus is win-win.