When our Support Team and move-on volunteer Ann had the opportunity to be part of the Renting Ready ‘Train the Trainer’ pilot organised by Crisis, they jumped at the chance. They had been trying to find training that would help prepare Companions for the difficult prospect of renting in Bristol – something that everyone in our city is struggling with right now.

Our Support Team Manager Fran and volunteer Ann underwent training so they could then deliver the training to our Companions in future. Commenting on the training, Fran said:

“Going over the course content, it quickly became clear that it was up-to-date and absolutely relevant to Bristol. Topics included priority and non-priority debt, how to pay utilities and read meters, looking for rentals, applying for housing, understanding a tenancy agreement, recognising scams and so much more. We quickly realised that for Companions who had never rented, the idea of moving on was truly daunting!

We offered the first ‘all Emmaus Bristol’ session to five Companions in March 2023. The level of participation was good, with several Companions feeling able to share personal experiences of renting, including traumatic experiences, within a safe, supportive setting.

Overall, the feedback from our training day was positive with Companions saying that they had acquired new information about what to do when housing problems arise and where to seek help. Advocacy seemed to be the key takeaway for Companions. They felt more confident in tackling issues that may arise and knowing how to get help if they could not deal with them alone.

The Emmaus Bristol community has definitely learnt a lot from this training, and we are sure it will help Companions move out successfully and manage their tenancies with as little grief as is humanly possible.”

Thoughts from Companions

More of an idea of renting. Learnt new things. I feel like I will succeed now.

I learnt things that I didn’t know before. I knew about Section 21 but didn’t know it could be invalid if it was on the wrong form! I also learned about all the places you can go to for advice.

I’ve never done anything like that before. It was a bit stressful at first, but then it became fun. I didn’t know most of the information. Now I know what to look out for if I am going to rent.