Richard's Story

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My name is Richard and I am a companion currently living and working in Emmaus Greenwich, based in Plumstead, South London.

Originally from Australia, I left for England in 1977. My parents were Ten Pound Poms, and I didn't like Australia. After living in various parts of the UK for many years, I became homeless in 2004. In January 2005, I was told by a Brother of the Society of St Francis about Emmaus and 12 days later, I moved to Emmaus Greenwich. I was here for just over a year. After living in two other Emmaus communities, Mossley and Dover, I came back to Emmaus Greenwich in 2007.

In July 2011, I left Emmaus and went to Northern Ireland thinking that housing, especially social housing, would be easier to come by. After almost eight months living in a hostel in Belfast, I got my own flat in Albertbridge Road, East Belfast. I was there for over two years, but things got too dangerous and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which managed social housing, was uncooperative. After over seven months of living in fear, I came back to Emmaus Greenwich in August 2014. When I arrived back, I felt a total release from all that I had left behind in Northern Ireland, and safe and secure at last.

I have been back here at Emmaus Greenwich for over three years now, and I have decided to stay, at least for the forseeable future, perhaps until I retire. After I retire, I would like a small place of my own in the South East of London, doing some work for Emmaus Greenwich one or two days a week to keep me going. 

I’ve seen a lot of change since first coming here; our community has more than doubled in size, from a maximum of 15 companions to the current 33. I enjoy my role here, posting letters and parcels, doing much of the cleaning and lots of other bits and bobs in between.

Personally, I am so grateful for what Emmaus has done for me, and for what it has given me over the years. These days, I’ve got a place to call home, a source of stability and a life free of stress.