I was living at the airport when I heard about Emmaus. It felt like I was in some horrible version of that Tom Hanks movie, The Terminal.
After my wife and I split up, I spent quite a while sofa surfing with friends. But it started to get stressful and embarrassing and I felt I couldn’t carry on living on their hospitality, especially when I lost my job.
I’m not sure why I headed for the airport. I had a notion that I could base myself there and commute to jobs in Crawley or Croydon, but in reality I just couldn’t afford it. Money disappeared like water.
I stayed at Gatwick for about two weeks. I met another guy living there, who showed me the best places to sleep in the airport, where to get a shower, where the comfortable benches were to sleep, and where I could safely store my stuff and pick up things to eat. He had heard about Emmaus in Glasgow and told me about it. After that I contacted a couple of communities. Within hours Hastings & Rother had invited me to visit.
My main role since being at Emmaus has been sorting the fabrics and textiles as they come in, from duvets to dresses, t-shirts to trainers – it is incredible the amount of clothing that comes through this place, and it all benefits our business.
It has been hard getting used to living with lots of other people, I won’t pretend otherwise. I didn’t come the route of a night shelter or from the military, so I’m a bit different from some of the others, but what this experience has taught me is that homelessness can come to anyone – and Emmaus is here for anyone who is willing to work, and chip in their bit to help out.
I have decided to give myself a little while here, just to let the dust settle. I can take each day at a time, knowing that I am in a secure place where I can call my kids every day. They know that I’m safe and not going anywhere, and I know the same about them, and that is a good feeling.