in late 2005 I found myself staying with my aunt on her sofa due to issues with work and housing, I heard about Emmaus Greenwich through a day centre so I gave them a call and the lady I spoke to told me I would need to work 40 hours a week in return for a room of my own, food and a small weekly allowance with no Bill’s to pay. It sounded ideal for me and I was invited to have a look around, it didn’t take me long to tell them I wanted to stay and I soon settled into things, sorting out the brick a brack and going out on the van to help with collections and deliveries. During my 2-3 months there I discovered Emmaus Cambridge was not far from where my Mum and Stepdad lived and managed to get a transfer to the community, after a month or so I managed to find a place to live in Somerset so went there hoping to find work but it was a bit out of the way and after I while I got bored and managed to find a flat share in London for a while but could not get enough work to pay my Bill’s, I then moved in with a friend for a while and ended up meeting a girl in the North of England so after 6 months I moved there, We were together for around 2 years and during the end of our relationship my Mum passed away which was really hard for me, I felt so alone and started drinking too much and not sleeping well due to having panic attacks during the night, I found myself walking to and sitting in the hospital for hours because I felt safe there, I didn’t take time off work because I was scared of losing my job which sounds silly looking back and after a few months I started to manage things a bit better, after nearly 4 years my job started to get harder due to changes and I just got depressed, I booked a weeks holiday, sold everything I had and left. I went to Israel for 3 weeks to volunteer on a moshav for a few weeks then came back to the uk to stay with my Stepdad for a while on his sofa, after a few months of being in and out of work we fell out and I left to stay in a night shelter for a while until I moved into Emmaus Hampshire, after a few months I met a girl and found a job then a place of my own, after around 11 months we split up and I got fed up of my job and the awkward shifts so went to stay with a friend and then lived with my real Dad for a while. Since then I have been moving around a bit and also been to Emmaus in Germany, the Netherlands and recently came back from spending 3 months in an Emmaus in Switzerland. I lost my Dad to Cancer a bit over 3 years ago which has been really hard for me and sometimes I still struggle with it but I try to take a day at a time, I’m currently in Emmaus Hull and looking forward to settling in Hull and finding a job and a place of my own. As much as I have enjoyed travelling it also became a bit of a habit when times got hard, it’s time for me to settle down now and start to enjoy life properly, I’m hoping to gain some more qualifications while I am here and make sure that when I do find a job it will be the right one for me and I can stay grounded. Emmaus has been really good for me as it gives you a chance to take a step back and decide what you want from life, there is lots of support here and it’s nice being around similar people who have gone through similar things and understand what your going through.
David came from a loving family who tried everything they could to keep him safe and out of trouble. As many teenagers do and David did, the influences of his friends and piers which led David to have his first conviction was when he was only 13, this was for various types of theft. At the age of 14 David was sentenced to 4 months in prison. David became a prolific offender and was in and out of prison until he was 20.
David met his ex-partner and when he was released they moved to Sheffield for a new start and got a job and had 2 girls called Chloe and Lillie, David was enjoying his family life. Whilst David lived in Sheffield he bumped into some of his old friend from prison and he started taking heroin again when he was 25, which he then got addicted but was able to keep if from his partner at the time for 3 years. When she found out about the heroin she still gave David lots of chances. David’s words “I chose heroin” This split the family up, and at 30 years old David went back to Rotherham to live with his parents and spent the next 5 years I and out of prison for theft and drug offences. Probation went to visit David whilst he was in prison and told him about Emmaus and what it had to offer.
On David’s release he lived in Emmaus Burnley and Emmaus Preston for a short period and then went into bed and breakfast in Rotherham as he thought that he was ready to move back to where he was brought up, but he wasn’t. David wanted a fresh start and to try and keep away from his old life around drugs, theft and been near in Rotherham wasn’t going to give him that. David finally got his fresh start and was supported by Rotherham Offender Management Unit. Who brought him to Emmaus Hull 23rd March this year.
The last time David came out of prison was June 2018 and has not offended for over 3 years prior to this. David is now looking forward to gaining new skills and eventually get a job and a new home, and to try and reconnect with his daughters that he dearly misses.
On 26TH September 2017, Jason went into a day centre in Brighton to ask for help. They supported Jason’s move into Emmaus Hull as a companion the same day. He had previously lived in a travelling community all his life. Over the years Jason moved around and had an interesting childhood. From a young adult Jason gambled a lot and at 45 years old he wanted to change his life around and have a fresh start.
Jason found it hard when he first came into Emmaus as he wasn’t used to routine or the stability of living in a house and not travelling around. Jason started to enjoy having a purpose and keeping busy with the voluntary work at Emmaus.
Jason has come into his own and has undertaken a lot of training offered by Emmaus such as Buddy training, Fire Marshall, First-Aid, Customer service, Key-holder, Warehouse & Storage NVQ level 2. J He has recently finished a work placement at Hull maintenance and really enjoyed it.
Jason has certainly turned his life around and is now moving on to new pastures with a Painting and Decorating job and he is also moving in with his new partner.
Quote from Jason:
Big thank-you for all your help getting my life back on track”
Layne came and joined the Emmaus Hull & East Riding community in February of 2019 after months of sofa surfing in another area. Layne has not previously lived in community living and was feeling somewhat apprehensive. Layne had also never lived in the Hull area before so was experiencing a whole array of new encounters.
Layne would describe himself as a quiet person and sometimes finds it hard to socialise with new people and can experience feelings of overwhelming anxiety when presented with large numbers of people particularly in new situations.
Layne had no previous experience of a working environment and lacked an understanding of the challenges and rewards that a working day could provide.
Since Layne joined the community he has gone from strength to strength, he slowly has found the confidence to engage and socialise with other companions he now considers part of his extended family. Layne has found his voice in the morning meetings and with support from his peers and support worker has offered input and discussed rotas. Layne has been involved in the many social activities that take place within the community from BBQ’s to the themed menu nights, Layne can always be found tucking into his food and socialising with others.
Layne continues to go from strength to strength within his working role and can often be found sorting through the brick a bac in the warehouse, contributing to the up keep within the orchard or enjoying some gardening by either maintain the lawns or keeping on top of the vegetables we have growing to enable self-sufficiency.
Layne was also heavily involved with the solidarity work that 3 other companions took part in by clearing a previously unloved and over grown communal garden. After many hours hard work and a few blisters later Layne and the other companions have been able to hand back to a local community a beautiful, weed free well-loved space that can be enjoyed by so many. Layne himself says “the work involved in the garden project was hard work, but a day I will never forget, I got to work with 3 other companions in a new environment, we worked hard but laughed and joked while getting the job done”. Layne says he would not previously of been able to be involved in this kind of work due to his anxiety, however with the support of other companions and the building of trust Layne felt confident and happy to be in such a new environment.
Layne has also been able to explore Hull and spends his free time taking photographs of local areas of interest and has become involved with Hull Minister. Layne is now learning to play music and considers himself to have a safe place to call home while have the freedom to explore outside interests.
Layne is grateful for all that Emmaus have offered him and feels he has a sense of purpose through the structure of his day and the commitment he has shown to his community and work life. Layne is very much looking forward to the future and hopes to continue his solidarity work with involvement in Emmaus International and support those in a greater need than himself.
Carl became a companion of Emmaus Hull & East Riding community 25th February 2019. After suffering with poor mental health, he found himself homeless and estranged from his family. This caused Carl’s mental health to deteriorate further, with no sense of purpose, low self-esteem and no place to call home.
The relationship between Carl and his children’s care givers had all but broken down, which resulted in loss of contact for Carl with his children, losing several months access to his youngest son and daughter. Sadly the relationship between Carl and his Mum had broken down to virtually no contact whatsoever.
Carl describes his first night at Emmaus as feeling “nervous, scared and unsure what the future could possibly hold”. This was the first time that he had experienced community living. Carl was introduced to his buddy and made to feel at ease with a warm drink and a non-judgemental ear to listen and reassure him.
The first time he walked through the door, he was greeted by a warm, friendly and unconditional welcome by a community that Carl now considers to be a part of his extended family. Carl has soon adapted to his work role within the superstore and enjoys the structure and challenges this brings to his working day.
Furthermore, Carl stayed patient and trusting with his support worker to establish the correct path for his mental health needs. Carl explains that the communication between him and his support worker has allowed him the confidence to explore the options available to him for support in mental health. This prevented him needing to be admitted to hospital and instead allowed him to have the flexibility of having a home-based treatment team that work with Carl here, at what he now considers his home.
With support and careful planning from Emmaus, Carl has also successfully achieved access to his children and was able to assist his daughter who recently had a hospital stay. He was able to travel to be with his daughter at the hospital in another city, with support around time off and travel costs.
Carl acknowledged that a big part of his positive experience was having a buddy to talk and turn to. In fact, Carl himself has completed his buddy training so he can offer the same practice to any new future companions. Carl has also plans on completing his NVQ Level 1 & 2 in customer service and warehouse and attends the weekly progression sessions run as part of the Emmaus training programme. Carl also intends to work with the solidarity committee in future campaigns as part of the core values at Emmaus.
He is very much looking forward to the future and now often reflects on how far he has come since he began as a companion back in February and in Carl’s own words: “Thank you to Emmaus for the opportunity and a second chance at life”. Carl now often visits his Mum on his days off for an evening meal and they frequently speak on the phone. Carl places the success of this firmly with Emmaus as he has been able to deal with his personal issues without feeling like a burden. Carl plans to spend some time in the summer travelling around different communities and generally enjoying life to the max. He’s in the process of starting his volunteering with the Army Cadets in some of his free time as he wishes to become a positive role model to the younger generation.
Carl’s support worker feels incredibly proud of him for everything he has achieved and it has been a pleasure to see Carl evolve into the person he is today. Carl will continue to have our full support throughout his time here and encouragement to achieve even more of his personal goals.
Hull, UK: A former rough sleeper is celebrating the next chapter in his life having gone from being homeless to independent living in just two years but says mental health awareness remains an issue.
Bob Chapman suffered from depression, which had lead to spiralling debt and ultimately him facing life on the streets.
Having spent four and half months living rough, including time camped in forests and living off berries, with the help of local homeless charity, Emmaus Hull and East Riding he has been able to transform his life.
Now living independently in his own flat in north Hull he is about to take his first steps back in to employment.
Former rough sleeper, Mr. Chapman said: “It was about 2000 when my depression first set in. My mum had died just after my birthday and not long after that we found out my dad was terminally ill.“I had a good job in the warehouse at Cranswick Foods but, because my sister had a disabled child, I gave up my job to become a full time carer for my dad.
“It was in 2015 that the depression really took hold. I couldn’t take any more bad news so I stopped leaving the house and avoided contact, even in the form of letters and phone calls.
“Eventually, when I did open one of the letters it told me I was going to be evicted. This was when I decided I just needed to get away from everyone and walked 191 miles in four days and ended up in Lincoln.
“For the next few months I only ate once every four days when I found some change, otherwise I lived off berries.
“Having had chance to clear my mind a bit I realised that I needed to set things straight. I phoned my sister and some family came to pick me up and told me about Emmaus.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve undertaken extensive training including maths, English, mental health and safeguarding, amongst many others.
“I’ve also worked with the outreach team, which supports those who are currently sleeping rough. Mental health is rife in the homeless community and there’s still a lot of education required in this area.
“If I had stayed on the streets I’d be dead now. Emmaus have helped me feel worth something again when it felt like no one else wanted to listen.
“My depression is something that will always remain with me but I now have it under control, when it could have been so different.”
Kelly Lousie Meacock, training leader at Emmaus Hull and East Riding, who has worked with Mr. Chapman since he first came to the charity, said: “When Bob first came to Emmaus, we set out a list of targets for him and a path for him to achieve them.
“It was a three-year plan and after two and half years Bob has realised everything he set out to do, which is testament to his hard work.
“He is now preparing to return to full-time employment, with a job secured he is just undertaking his final training before assuming the role.
“Bob’s case highlights a really important issue, that is particularly prevalent amongst the homeless community.
“Mental health can affect anyone and if the appropriate steps aren’t taken then things can spiral rapidly. Fortunately, Bob has been able to take control back and is now going from strength to strength.”
Anyone that is concerned about the mental health of a rough sleeper should notify Emmaus Hull and East Riding by downloading the app or by calling 01482 223 722.
Neil first came to Emmaus, Hull & East Riding on 17th July 2017. He had been in a few Emmaus branches over the previous 4 years.
It was our outreach programme that initially attracted Neil. He came from Dover for a week’s taster on outreach and decided to stay. He had a little spell away from Hull and went to Burnley, but decided he wanted to be back in East Yorkshire.
Neil has recently completed his NVQ in warehouse & customer service, mental health and first aid as well as a lot of CLLD training. Additionally, he also completed a 4 week placement at Elliot Hygiene.
Neil has done a lot of solidarity support in his time at Emmaus and is hoping to continue this within Emmaus once he has left. He’s also covered a wide range of roles whilst living in Hull, from kitchen duties to supporting at car boot sales.
Neil says he owes Emmaus a lot and feels that the charity saved his life. He is moving onto the next chapter of his life at Trippet Street Supported Housing but will remain a big part of the community here in Hull.
On the 18th February, companion Daryl moved on from Emmaus Hull & East Riding into his supported flat.
Daryl has settled in really well and has been continuing to use the qualifications he gained whilst at Emmaus. He has also attended a couple of job interviews and is looking for a job as a breakfast chef.
He has been attending Men in Sheds, which he has found very helpful, and has continued to volunteer at Emmaus Hull & East Riding to visit us all on a weekly basis.
During Daryl’s time at Emmaus he completed his Level 2 and Level 3 Food Hygiene as well as getting NVQ qualifications in customer care, warehousing and bike mechanics.
He also attended the pioneer trip funded through Emmaus UK, which was Daryl’s highlight of his stay and would love to look at doing something like this again.
Daryl made some close friends whilst at Emmaus who he maintains contact with and is so thankful to Emmaus for giving him his self-esteem, confidence and work ethic back.
We want to wish Daryl the very best of luck in his move and with his journey in to employment.
just want to say a huge thank you, to the Emmaus Hull staff team, they are amazing and couldn’t have done it without them.
During my life I have many up’s and down’s, I am proud that I was a manager for Iceland for 3 years, where I met my friend and then we started sharing a flat together, which then I left Iceland to work for Yodel which there I was a Multi Drop delivery driver, one week before Christmas of last year, he decided to kick me out of the flat with no explanation why, so their I became homeless, which then I presented my life at the local council.
Which then they decided to place me in a hotel which was located in Hull, which I only 15 minutes away from Emmaus, the hotel I was staying was very bad, when I started to go the Asperger’s Syndrome club which is near the train station in hull, I did some research about Hull, and Emmaus came up, once I looked at Emmaus Hull online I then went to my Citizen’s Advice worker and he helped me complete process to join the Emmaus community in Hull.
After my worker contacted the Emmaus in Hull, they arranged me to meet with Kelly and Caroline, which then I attended the meeting and got to know them a little bit, after the meeting Kelly and Caroline arranged me to do a 3 day taster, which involved me working in the community at their wonderful superstore, I found the taster very welcoming and got to know more about Emmaus and what they could offer me and also met some wonderful companions.
Emmaus Hull is a wonderful place and the staff are amazing and they will do anything to help you if they can, they have given me more confidence in myself as my confidence when I joined Emmaus was very low, I have gained more independence to live independently, leaning how to manage money, look after yourself, how to cook by learning to cook in the kitchen, also learning how to work as part of a team again, Emmaus Hull has changed my life and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t of known what to do without them.
Being with Emmaus Hull now for 9 month’s, I have learnt more about myself, learning new skills and excellent training provided by Emmaus to prepare you going back into work.
I am now moving into a Riverside property which is a flat which is based in Hull, which is only 10 minutes away from Emmaus, I will be coming back to do more training, and volunteering.
Again, just want to say a huge thank you, to the Emmaus Hull staff team, they are amazing and couldn’t have done it without them.
This place has given me a purpose, a reason to get up in the morning.”
After his divorce, Phil Hill turned to heroin and crack cocaine for comfort. His life was spiralling out of control until he was referred to a supported housing scheme in Hull.
Speaking from The Orchard, developed by Together Housing Group on land donated by Hull City Council and run by homeless charity Emmaus Hull and East Riding, Phil, 52, said:
“I went off the rails after I got divorced and ended up on crack and heroin. I started shoplifting to feed my habit.”
As with all Emmaus schemes, residents at The Orchard, known as companions, are required to work a minimum of 40 hours a week in return for a roof over their head, food and a daily allowance. The community is supported by a social enterprise including a cafe and retail space which sells upcycled household goods.
Phil said: “This place has given me a purpose, a reason to get up in the morning.”
“I’ve learnt a lot since I’ve been here, not only about (qualifications and work) but also how to treat people.
“I’ve not seen my daughter since I split up from my wife. She was just 14 then but will be 32 now. I want her to remember what her dad used to be like, I don’t want her to see me like this. She’s moved on with her life and I don’t want to do anything to bring her down. I’d like to think that one day I’ll be able to reconnect with her again.”
The only benefit the companions claim is Housing Benefit, which until earlier this month was under threat. The government’s announcement that all supported housing funding will be covered by the welfare system, was a victory for the National Housing Federation’s Starts at Home campaign. However, there is still work to be done as the government looks at how support costs need to be funded and the sector must continue to demonstrate the value of supported housing so it doesn’t face this uncertainty in the future.
As part of the Starts at Home campaign, Phil is urging the government to protect vital services.
“If it wasn’t for this place I’d still be on the streets, in jail or dead.”
“Without places like this, there would be a lot more crime on the streets. It’s a lifeline for desperate people. For the first time in a long time, I look forward to waking up in the morning.”