I’ve lived at Emmaus Bristol for about two years now. Emmaus is always there if you need help and I really appreciate what the staff have done for me.
Before finding Emmaus, I was homeless and on the street for a couple of months. I moved into a place called Amber in Trowbridge, which was like a hostel. I shared a bedroom with someone else and we did daily workshops about finding a job, or sometimes I helped with the cooking and cleaning. It was a mixture of everything and kind of similar to Emmaus, but without the support you get here.
I could only stay at the hostel for two years. I felt a lot of pressure when my time was up; like I needed to do something otherwise I’d be homeless again. That’s when I heard about Emmaus and moved to the community in Gloucestershire. I stayed there for six months and moved to Emmaus Bristol when I heard that my friend was here too.
I settled in a little bit at Emmaus Gloucestershire, but I’ve definitely settled in more at the Bristol community and have made some good mates. Sometimes living with so many people can be challenging, but it’s also good to have people around you when needed. The staff at Emmaus are always here to help too, but also leave you to it if you’re doing okay.
In the social enterprise, I’ve worked on the van doing collections and deliveries and sometimes in the shops, but I mostly cook in our community kitchen for the other companions. I’ve got a cooking background so it’s my favourite thing to do at Emmaus Bristol. I used to work at Wagamama, Chiquito and I was the Head Chef at a Thai restaurant. I love cooking and it’s something that I’m really passionate about.
Recently, we had a cooking workshop with a local Head Chef from Bianchis. It was brilliant and really good fun. I learnt how to make Italian pancakes. I had never made them before, but tried again myself after the workshop and they came out pretty good!
As well as working in the social enterprise, I’ve completed all the online iHasco training Emmaus offers, like Food Hygiene and Manual Handling. I’ve also received funding from the Emmaus UK Companion Training Fund for a set of professional knives, a laptop, fishing gear and a PlayStation 5. The funding has helped me out loads. I still use the knives every day to cook for the community and I’ve got into fishing as a hobby which I really enjoy.
One thing I would like to mention is that it’s quite fun to have a Christmas here. Some people don’t like Christmas, I don’t particularly either, but you have people to be around for the day if you want. I’m used to cooking for lots of people and two years ago I did the Christmas dinner with another person in the house.
Next up I’m going to look for a job, hopefully cooking at a restaurant in Bristol. Eventually I want to move out of Emmaus Bristol, and when you find a job they let you stay for a few months to save up and then leave.
If someone was homeless and thinking about joining Emmaus, I’d say give it a go and see for yourself. It helps people out, but sometimes doesn’t work for everyone. If you don’t try, you’re never going to know. And for supporters, I’d like to thank you for all the donations. They really help us out and we all appreciate it.