Our trustees volunteer their time and skills to support Emmaus Bradford and play a vital part in ensuring we meet our strategic objectives and our ultimate goal to open a Bradford commnity. We’ve put 10 questions to Emmaus Bradford Chair of Trustees Sarah Dixon so you can get to know her better.
What made you want to be an Emmaus Bradford trustee?
I have always had a concern about the homeless. Many years ago, when I worked in London, I gave two rough sleepers under the railway arches the money for train tickets to travel down to my home so that they could do some paid work for me. My husband said they wouldn’t turn up, but they did. They worked hard all day. They were the first people to explain to me that if you have no job you cannot afford a place to live, and if you have no fixed abode you cannot get a job. So when I met the CEO of Emmaus Leeds at an event, and he told me that Emmaus not only provide accommodation, but also counselling and work experience, I thought this is just the charity I want to support.
What is your background and what has your career path been?
I graduated in modern languages from Bradford University and was lucky enough to have two international careers – in business with Shell International and in academia with a number of different universities. I have worked in Austria, Russia (for Shell) and China (for a Liverpool University Joint Venture) and my last job was as Pro Vice- Chancellor International for University of Leicester.
What do you enjoy most about being a trustee at Emmaus Bradford?
I have always enjoyed a challenge! Emmaus Bradford is at an early stage of development and we have not yet set up our community, so there are many projects to work on, the main one being to secure the funds to acquire a suitable residential property. As my expertise lies in strategic management I hope I am helping Emmaus Bradford’s strategy development and implementation.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed or impacted your role as trustee?
Yes, it has made fund-raising much more difficult, and of course it has meant that our main source of income, our large charity superstore, has had to close down in the two lockdowns with the resulting negative impact on revenues.
Can you sum up what Emmaus means to you in one sentence?
Emmaus is a charity that goes one step further than most charities for the homeless, and I like to think that one day I might be helping someone to get back on their feet, recover their place in society and be able to support themselves with a good job.
Tell us something interesting about you
I first bought a Teach Yourself Chinese book when I was 10 years old but I didn’t progress past the first page. Since then I have taken various opportunities in the context of work to study Mandarin, and I continue to take online lessons with teachers in China. It is not an easy language! As I said, I like a challenge.
What food can you not resist?
What is your favourite film?
It is difficult to choose, but as I write this I think of ‘I, Daniel Blake’ and ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ – both are really moving films.
What do you feel most grateful for?
Having the opportunity in life to work in jobs that I love and meet wonderful people in different parts of the world.
What is your biggest achievement?
So far – setting up a brand new internationally accredited business school in China. Perhaps one day in the future it will be the opening of an Emmaus Community in Bradford.
Emmaus Bradford is recruiting for new trustees to join the team. Click here to view the job vacancy.