As Community Support Officer at Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland, I’m responsible for the welfare, care, support and development of all our companions.
I started my career as a visual merchandiser for Marks & Spencer and then in 2013, I gave up my job to move here to Leicestershire. My now-husband Duncan was the Community Leader at Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland and I joined him to live in the charity’s accommodation, alongside 14 formerly homeless companions.
It was a big step but seeing Duncan at work gave me confidence. Duncan’s dad John was homeless for quite a while, and it was thanks to Emmaus that the two of them got to know each other again, after nearly a decade apart. Going through that difficult time gave Duncan a real insight into the emotional struggles that people can encounter in their lives. His enthusiasm for Emmaus is utterly infectious. He now works for Emmaus UK, travelling all over helping other communities and new groups.
When I first arrived in Hinckley, I volunteered for Emmaus before joining the staff doing admin and as PA to the Community Director. Then the charity decided to open La Boutique – our clothes shop in Hinckley – so I moved to become the new Shop Manager, drawing on my previous retail experience.
This role also involved a lot of work with the companions themselves. I loved this challenge and learnt so much that I decided that this was where I wanted my time with Emmaus to be. I started to move over to help my colleagues run the community.
I’m now the Community Support Officer here. Every day is different and I’m certainly never bored! Whilst it can be a challenging role, we all pull together as a community and I really feel like my work is worthwhile. I feel lucky to have a job directly helping people turn their lives around.
Emmaus is special because of the people we support. There really is nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve played a part helping someone to turn their life around.
It’s an exciting time for me and I’m very happy to be involved with Emmaus. The charity is a huge part of my life and will always hold a special place in my heart.