I grew up locally in Leicestershire and then moved away. I moved back to be closer to my girlfriend but after problems with housing benefit I ended up with nowhere to live.

I’ve slept on the streets in the past, when I was 19. It wasn’t a good experience at all and when I realised it might happen again, I did all I could to find an alternative.

As luck would have it, I already knew about Emmaus because I used to volunteer at Emmaus Bristol, helping to sort out donated items in their charity shop. I found out that the community in Hinckley was my nearest and gave them a ring to see if they could help. I came in for an interview with the support staff and moved in soon after.

I found living in the community building challenging at first, especially during the recent lockdown because I’m not the sort of person who likes to stay inside. It is a lot better now and I’ve got know the other companions, which has been great.

The support staff are really helpful. They’re always there to listen and they’ll point you in the right direction if they can’t help you themselves.

I’ve been suffering with mental health problems following a bereavement and they’re helping me find specialist support groups. They also make sure I take my medication on time, which is something I sometimes struggle with.

I’m enjoying it here, especially being able to work every day. It’s good to feel like I’m able to put something back into the community. The routine is really helpful for me because I like to be out and about, doing something with my days. I usually work on the vans, collecting and delivering furniture to customers. I enjoy it because you get a chance to explore the county and visit places you’ve maybe never seen before. I also like having the chance to chat to customers and meet new people.

I want to stay here for a bit longer. I don’t yet feel ready to move on and it’s good to know I can stay for as long as I need to. I’m hoping to start driving lessons soon and I’d like to look into other training opportunities offered through Emmaus, to see what would be most useful.

If I hadn’t reached out to Emmaus, I would probably have ended up sofa surfing or living on the streets again, so I’m really grateful they’ve given me a roof over my head, the chance to work and the support I need.