Ewa joined the Emmaus Bristol team as one of our Support Workers in October 2020 and is sharing what her role is like in the Q&A below…

What does your role at Emmaus Bristol involve?

As a support worker, my role is to provide assistance, guidance, and support to individuals facing various challenges, including mental health issues. I assist our companions in developing interpersonal and life skills. I collaborate with other service providers, such as mental health and healthcare professionals, to ensure comprehensive support. I work collaboratively with clients to develop personalised support plans, considering their needs to establish the required support. We work in a person-centred way, recognising that every individual is unique.

Why did you want to work at Emmaus Bristol?

Emmaus Bristol’s holistic approach to addressing homelessness, especially its emphasis on mental health support, resonates perfectly with my values. I was attracted to the organisation’s dedication to offering sustainable solutions through meaningful employment opportunities for individuals seeking to enhance their confidence and life skills. Witnessing residents successfully transition from homelessness to more stable situations can be incredibly rewarding.

What is your favourite thing about Emmaus Bristol and why?

My favourite aspect of Emmaus Bristol is the sense of community and empowerment it fosters among residents. I enjoy working with like-minded, creative people passionate about helping vulnerable individuals and advocating for social justice.

Can you share a memorable experience or moment you’ve had while working at Emmaus Bristol?

One particularly memorable experience was being part of a solidarity project that we managed to fundraise for by organising a 13-mile walk. Our support manager, Fran, is our health and fitness advocate, and she led the walk, which included companions, staff, friends, and families. As a group, we managed to raise £2500, sponsoring a water purifier in one of our sister communities in India. Seeing the positive impact this had on their lives enforced the significance of our work.

What is the important thing people should know about Emmaus Bristol and why?

It’s crucial for people to understand that Emmaus Bristol goes beyond providing shelter and food; the organisation is dedicated to addressing the underlying issues contributing to homelessness, with a specific focus on mental health and giving individuals a purpose and sense of routine. Emmaus Bristol takes a holistic approach when supporting individuals, and we practice a trauma-informed approach in everything we do.

What’s one thing coming up that you’re excited to work on and why?

Even though we are a small local charity in Bristol, we want to help more people. Solidarity projects are a big part of what we do at Emmaus. We decided to team up with other local charities like BOSH or AidBox, who are doing a great job helping the most vulnerable. Our goal is to help those in need by donating essential items like small tents, sleeping bags, and clothing, among other necessities.

By connecting with like-minded and local organisations, we contribute to a stronger, more compassionate community. Ultimately, our collective aim is to do our best to assist those who are vulnerable, as together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need.

Also, this year, our focus is on improving the well-being and health of our companions. We will introduce training and creative approaches to help companions better understand nutrition and its impact on health. Prioritising their well-being aims not just to address immediate concerns but also to promote a culture of long-term self-care. Providing individuals with nutrition knowledge can lead to healthier lifestyle choices, better physical health, and overall wellbeing.