I first became aware of the tremendous work Emmaus is doing nationally and internationally over 10 years ago. In that time we have seen an increase in all forms of homelessness in the UK. Emmaus communities are helping to alleviate homelessness by providing the support of a home and work for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It is a model that works with many success stories. I am honoured to be able to contribute to the development of Emmaus Hull and assist in ensuring that it is an integral part of the wider community of Hull.
In a long career in housing and social care, it has been clear to me that some aspects of homelessness appear to be unchanging. First of all, long-term homelessness is so often accompanied by a severe medical or social problem. Secondly, if the homeless person isn’t already unemployed they soon will be. Thirdly, the most vulnerable people tend to receive the worst housing deal – even in a public housing system based on need. So it made perfect sense to assist with a housing project which attempts to tackle housing, employment and care simultaneously.
Being involved with the St Charles ‘Drop In’, Emmaus seemed to offer a way forward for some of our clients. The Emmaus formula is both simple and impressive – a Community in Hull would be a great asset to the city.
I first became aware of the real difficulties faced by the homeless community on a Business in the Community visit in London. As a result, my company helped support a day centre for homeless young people at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. My wife Mia introduced me to Emmaus which does a remarkable job in converting homeless people into contributing members of Society – we became supporters of the need to provide an Emmaus community in Hull and are working hard to achieve this as soon as possible.
My inspiration stems from the vision of Emmaus’s founder, Abbe Pierre, and the work at St Charles ‘Drop In’. After many years in public life, it is both good and humbling to help organise a ‘bottom up’ project from scratch with all its challenges and rewards.
Shelter, water, food. Denial of these three fundamental needs to any human seems to me to be morally unacceptable. A “moving on from homelessness’ flier fell out of the Catholic Herald. It had a brilliant strapline – “A bed and a reason to get out of it!” : I forget how many times this happened before I realised it was speaking to me. Why Hull? We’d lived in the area for 12 years : we knew the need there.
I first became aware of the work of Emmaus when I was teaching in Glasgow and my school began raising money to set up a community in the city. As Headmaster at Hymers College we have been keen to support the building of a new community in Hull and have hosted a number of high-profile events to raise money for the charity. I was both privileged and surprised to be asked to serve as a Trustee and will work hard to ensure Emmaus Hull is a success.
I am retiring as a Chartered Accountant on 30/06/2017 after more than 47 years’ service with two local firms.
I should like to devote part of my time to Emmaus Hull, having been involved in the Charity over the last 18 months or so.
I share the values of the Charity particularly with regard to cherishing independence but supporting and fostering interdependence. I feel that I can make that statement from my own experiences.
It is wonderful that people who have become homeless for whatever reason, have an opportunity to regain their lost esteem and having spoken to various companions, it is heart-warming how they tell me that they owe everything to Emmaus and in turn they want to help the Charity improve itself by looking at ways it can become more efficient in its operations.
Generally speaking it is extremely sad and worrying that esteem is disappearing from the modern society. It is also embarrassing for the country that people are queuing at food banks to get food for their families to survive. We need a fairer society and I call upon politicians to re think their policies in modern times.
I am honoured to be asked to become a trustee of Emmaus Hull and to make a contribution to those in need, whether this is brought about by being under-privileged, as a victim of social injustice or otherwise.
I am thrilled to be joining the Emmaus Hull & East Riding board of Trustees, the charity is close to my heart and makes a real difference in Hull & East Rising tackling homelessness and social isolation. I am looking forward to coming months and getting involved, supporting Emmaus companions and staff.”