I’m originally from Canterbury, but I’ve been living in Dover for about 25 years. I joined the Emmaus Dover community back in 2014 because the year before I had lost my wife to breast cancer, and unfortunately it put me over the edge. Consequently I turned to alcohol and drugs. Then somebody mentioned Emmaus and that it could help me. By the time I’d found out about it I’d lost my house, lost my home. I’d also lost a lot of my friends, but I’ve since made some good friends during the five years I spent as an Emmaus companion and now as a volunteer.
Emmaus sorted my act out completely. They helped me to get off the alcohol and drugs, and got me back on the straight and narrow, all of which I’m very grateful for. It gets a bit emotional when I talk about it, but yes. They helped me out.
In 2019 the Emmaus Dover team found me somewhere to live in a ward-assisted complex, which was very fortunate. I moved in November of that year, and it was a little bit strange moving into a flat. I had a front room, a kitchen, a closet, a bedroom and a wet room but the first few weeks I just slept in the front room, because I’d been used to having the one room and couldn’t get used to all the space.
I’ve now been volunteering for the last two years at Emmaus Dover as a pay back to say thank you. Over the years Emmaus have taught me quite a few things, and one of those is working in a shop – learning how to use the tills, etc. I greet customers, make sure they’re OK, being as friendly as possible and having a nice little chat with them, and basically seeing what their requirements are. When I was a companion I also helped out by cooking, working in the kitchen, and doing some carpentry.
The best thing about being a part of the community is the comradeship, the closeness. You make some good friends. You also meet a few undesirables but they eventually come round to your way of thinking! I was trusted so much and thought enough of that they asked me to be a Companion’s Assistant, helping to lock up at night and make sure everyone is settled in.
Emmaus really did sort my life out for me, and for that I’m really grateful.