Two colleagues and I run a small engineering company and a few years ago we decided we wanted to support some good causes.
I heard about Emmaus and felt that the charity stood out, as it helps people change their lives in the long-term, so we made a donation. I really value the fact that Emmaus Oxford is striving to become financially independent. It makes a difference when you know that a charity isn’t just relying on handouts but is also contributing to earning the money it needs to continue.
A few years later, I found myself with more time as I reduced my working hours. My nearest Emmaus was in Oxford so I contacted them to find out if I could help. For a while I was involved in efforts to set up a new Emmaus nearby; this didn’t work out, but I stayed in touch and eventually became a trustee here.
I’ve now been a trustee for a couple of years and I do enjoy the role.
When you first arrive, there’s a lot of listening to be done, as you learn about all the different aspects of the charity. I’ve spent time working in the shop and going out on the vans, just to find out how it all works and chat to the people involved.
All the trustees bring their own skills to the table, and I draw on my experience of project management, planning and organising. I often work closely with the CEO, supporting him in a practical way with the day-to-day challenges of running the charity. I’ve also taken on various projects such as updating the phone system across the organisation.
One of the things about Emmaus Oxford that I really champion is their focus on helping companions with moving on to a life afterwards. I’m part of a working group to help push this aspect forward. It’s great that we’ve now recruited a full-time Progression Worker to support companions in gaining the skills and confidence to potentially restart their lives outside of Emmaus.
I would absolutely recommend becoming a trustee; it provides the opportunity to use hard won experience in a positive way.