I work as a volunteer in the Superstore on Lockwood Street one day a week. I am usually found behind the scenes in the Workshop revitalising old or worn furniture. The furniture is often repaired here and I will spend time rubbing a piece down to bare wood then varnishing, or applying beeswax. Sometimes I will paint it for a completely different look. Lockwood Street not only has a Superstore but has a purpose built home for 30 Companions. It is the Companions who teach me the skills to do what I do. I hadn’t had any experience of this type of work previously.
The Superstore has a lovely cafe, but I often have my lunch with the Companions as one of the things I like doing best is chatting to everyone. It also has a car park which makes working in town nice and easy.
I do feel valued whilst I am at work here and I am often asked if I would like to help out with other things. I recently spent some time helping to get the new shop ready for its opening in Whitefriargate. It was lovely to be part of the team.
Last Christmas was particularly nice as I joined in with a Christmas Card making evening with the Companions and also took part in a Table Tennis match. I shall be supporting similar events this Christmas.
I didn’t have any experience working alongside formerly homeless people but soon found that a friendly disposition and a chatty nature was all I needed to be accepted in to the workplace. After a few months I was invited to attend a two day training course on Mental Health issues, which really helped my understanding.
I made a commitment to work for six months during the winter months, as I was newly retired and wanted to make the most of my summers and spend time on other things. So I work for one day a week keeping to the same day as I think it’s important to be reliable. Also I have found some time at home to make cushions for the companions and Christmas bunting for this years festivities.
I really like working at Emmaus. The ethos behind the charity is something I can lend my support to and it makes me feel good about myself to be helping in my small way. I have learned new skills and met many new people. I also have a new understanding and respect of the homelessness plight and am passionate about the cause.