Darren's story

Darren

Before coming to Emmaus I was living with my friend and her baby girl. As her ex-partner was in prison at the time, I acted as a father figure and watched her baby grow up. I was a big part of her life, and she was a big part of mine. When my friend’s ex-partner came out of prison she had to move away from the area as she knew that that was where he’d go back to. I found myself living alone and without them I was devastated. It was having such a huge effect on my motivation and mood that I ended up losing my job. After a while I couldn’t pay my rent and so in only a few weeks I found myself homeless.

I went to Emmaus for support. At the time I was angry at the world and feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t allow myself to open up to anyone; I kept my feelings completely bottled up and was always in a bad mood. Emmaus gave me a support worker who had sessions with me every week. He was the first person I was able to open up to after such a long time of distancing myself from everyone. I could tell him everything that was on my mind. The help was always there no matter how much or how little I needed it.

After two years of living and working at Emmaus Leeds I left the community in March 2017.  I was stuck in a rut at the time and though I wanted to leave, it was a scary prospect so I needed a push to do it. It was difficult to adjust when I left, living on my own and not having 25 doors to knock on if I wanted some company. I signed on at the Jobcentre and this wasn’t somewhere I wanted to be so I was determined that I would get a job as soon as possible. I applied for every job going, sometimes up to 20-30 applications a day for 2 months; I would have taken almost anything to be working. Being at Emmaus keeps you active all the time so I didn’t want to lose that. This was a very difficult period for me but the girlfriend I had at the time kept me going, kept my spirits high and always knew what to say to make me feel better.

After a couple of months I got a call back from a courier and delivery service, and before I knew what had hit me I was starting work the very next day. The first few days of physical work was difficult because of being off work for months, but I soon got used to it again and all the experience I had from working at Emmaus really helped. I was working in the warehouse loading vans, scanning stock and arranging them for delivery. I was soon promoted to driver’s mate which meant I was paired with a driver and helped to load the van every morning and deliver to customers on time. The days are varied depending on how many deliveries we have and what areas we are going to, there have been times when I have worked very long days but I love it and couldn’t imagine not working here.

I have made friends at work and we go out to the pub for a few on a Friday night to catch up on the week’s news which has helped me to settle into my new life and social network. I still have my friends at Emmaus and pop in regularly, whether it is to check in and see how people are or to buy bits of furniture for my new flat.

I have very fond memories of my two years at Emmaus such as climbing Snowdon and Scafell Pike which was a great bonding experience and an achievement I will never forget. I have realised how much I have learnt from living and working at Emmaus, skills which have set me up for the future and will help me progress further in my job.

In my spare time I have been redecorating my flat and working on my gaming YouTube channel. My next goal is to get my driver’s license for a motorbike so I can get to and from work easier but in the future I’d like to be able to drive the vans as well.

Once I get my motorbike license I’d like to go on some trips abroad and maybe drive across France and Germany and other parts of the world. I feel like the world has opened up to me and I have everything ahead of me now.

The advice I would give to anyone looking for work would be to use all the resources available to help you find a job. Keep applying for jobs and don’t get put off by the knockbacks as you will get there in the end. Don’t give up! No matter how hard life hits you it will eventually pay off!