I’m originally from Sheffield and grew up there. I was adopted with my sister when I was three years old and had a good education with my adopted parents. I’ve since worked in all sorts of industries from Tesco to British Steel, on the markets to catering and hospitality.
Many years ago I was introduced to Emmaus as I was looking for furniture at the time. I got chatting to a companion there who explained more about the organisation and I thought it was a great idea. My life went on a bit of a downward spiral and I ended up having problems with drink and drugs which made me even more depressed.
My support worker referred me to Emmaus Mossley and I came here on the 30 May 2005 which was a Bank Holiday. When I first came I was a bit shy at the time and didn't really talk to anyone for at least six months. I soon got my confidence back and I was invited to do a talk when Emmaus Sheffield was just starting out to explain about living and working at Emmaus Mossley. This was the first of many talks I did and now you can't shut me up!
Whilst I've been at Emmaus I've done many courses. The first one I did was catering because I had previously worked for five years in a chippy in Oldham. From then on I did much of the cooking in the community for about six years. Other courses I have done are Fire Marshalling, First Aid, Health & Safety, Bullying Awareness, Photography, PAT Testing, Maths, English, computers and customer service with Tameside College.
The first time I visited the Paris Salon was back in 2006. For those who don’t know, the Paris Salon is a massive annual charity sale where Emmaus communities from across Europe get together to raise funds. It was a fantastic experience - quite tiring but very enjoyable.
I went back to Paris again in 2007 and in 2009 we found a great Chinese restaurant. We went back to Paris in 2010 where Bruce and I ended up walking for an hour to try and find this great Chinese restaurant. It turned out to be only 200 meters away from our hotel.
From 2011 onwards I worked mainly on PAT testing and in the bric-a-brac area. When new companions joinined the community I often took them around the building and explained about the fire procedure and health and safety.
The things I enjoy most about being part of the Emmaus Mossley community are talking to customers in the bric-a-brac area, PAT testing and getting involved with our community social events (e.g. solidarity, fundraising, Christmas and volunteering).
In 2013 we started doing solidarity outreach in Manchester city centre taking food and clothing to street homeless people. I found this rewarding but also upsetting seeing so many young people who are on the streets.
In 2018, on 20 September, it was my birthday and that’s when I got a letter from housing saying I’ve secured a flat. It’s taken a couple of months to get it ready and make the move. I’m slowly settling in but it was hard at first, adjusting to living on my own. Thankfully I’ve made some new friends with my neighbours. The most important thing though is that I’m coming back to Emmaus to volunteer and help out with any events they have.
I would like to thank Emmaus, the staff and companions who have helped to furnish and decorate my new flat. I would also like to thank all the customers, supporters and volunteers of Emmaus for being friends and giving me this opportunity.
I left school with no qualifications so all the certificates I've gained have been from my time at Emmaus. I've seen Emmaus grow from a few communities to over 28 today and I feel proud to have contributed to that.
I am looking forward to staying involved at Emmaus because I have made many friends here over the years. It's like a big family and any opportunity I have, I will talk about Emmaus to anyone who will listen.