A placement at Emmaus – Hannah
I am currently a Trainee Clinical Psychologist working in the NHS, completing my doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Hull. I was on placement with Emmaus Hull & East Riding for 6 weeks, as part of a Community Psychology module on my course. The huge variety and amount of experience I have gained whilst working with Emmaus has been incredible and has really given me a unique perspective on the issues surrounding homelessness.
I spent a lot of my placement time working alongside Emmaus staff and companions in their community, which involved helping to run their furniture superstore, and supporting Emmaus staff to run the community which is where all companions live. I quickly learnt that Emmaus is a brilliant organisation, and something which particularly stuck with me is their motto ‘Give a homeless person a bed and a reason to get out of it’. The purpose of Emmaus is so different to other existing homeless charities, and I really feel that they’ve almost ‘struck gold’ in terms of what they’re able to do for companions. They not only provide formerly homeless people with accommodation, food and basic living requirements, but they provide training, support, full-time work and a purpose for companions. When talking to companions, many of them commented how Emmaus has helped them to turn their lives around and helped them to rebuild their self-esteem. The ‘family feel’ that being part of an Emmaus community gives is also invaluable – I experienced this for myself, and I was incredibly welcomed by all companions and Emmaus staff upon beginning my placement.
I spent some of my placement alongside the Emmaus Rough Sleeper Outreach team, which works alongside individuals who are rough sleeping to support them to access accommodation, healthcare and other support services. During my Outreach shifts with the team, I was able to speak to and understand the stories and struggles of many rough sleepers and understand the barriers that exist to gaining accommodation and getting off the streets. This work gave me a completely different insight into homelessness, and the knowledge and understanding I have gained I am sure I will carry with me throughout my future career.
My experience on placement with Emmaus has been incredible, I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have learnt so much about myself and the world around me, and I am so thankful that fantastic organisations such as Emmaus exist to try and break the cycle of homelessness. Emmaus are always looking for volunteers, and trust me, it will be the best volunteer experience you could ever gain!
Thank you Emmaus!