10th October 2018
I have to admit I was a rebellious sort of teenager; I gave my dad a lot of problems. For around a year when I was 16, I was living on the streets of Soho in London. There were lots of other homeless people who I’d spend time with, not the best of years for me and my life back then isn’t something I like to think about all these years later. It was a dangerous situation, but I’ve always been able to look after myself, even when I was younger and I got through it somehow.
When you have one period of homelessness in your life, you never really think it will happen again, especially when you’ve worked, had a family, children and grandchildren, but sometimes things just happen to you.
When I was 50, I found myself facing homelessness again and that’s when I found Emmaus Sheffield. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be now, probably in the gutter if I’m being honest.
Emmaus Sheffield didn’t only give me a roof over my head, it made me feel good about myself and they gave me the confidence to start rebuilding my life. They encouraged me to get some new qualifications, which all helped me to apply for the job I have now, Housekeeper and Cook for Emmaus Sheffield. I’ve done a lot of training, first aid, fire safety and I’ve just done my Level Two in Food Hygiene, all of which are important in the work I do as a member of staff.
When I look back at the lad I once was, I think how Emmaus could have helped me all those years ago. My early life could have been very different, had I been able to access the kind of support and guidance that I found when I joined Emmaus Sheffield.
What we really need is a version of Emmaus that caters for kids like I was. An Emmaus for people under 18 could give education and training, but even more importantly a place to talk about problems, help guide them and stop them ending up on the streets.
It does help a lot knowing you have someone to talk to about your problems, in my experience this is where you need help the most.