It started to go downhill after I had been at University for four years and didn’t end up completing my degree and came away with a HND in Politics instead. During my time at Uni, I had become accustomed to the party life style and everything that comes with it.

I didn’t have a job and was told to apply for as many jobs as possible by the Job Centre to keep my Job Seekers Allowance. It was hard to have to apply for certain types of jobs, when I knew I was capable of so much more.

After a time, my Housing Benefit was stopped and I couldn’t afford to pay my rent anymore. I decided that I was going to leave Sheffield. I regularly used to walk in the Peak District, so I got my camping stuff and all of my money together and headed for Sheffield Bus Station. The first bus was to London, so that’s where I went.

I’m very talkative and make friends easily, so I wasn’t worried. After talking to some locals once I arrived at Victoria Coach station in London, they agreed to let me sleep on the sofa for a night. I then stayed in an ECO village in London for around six weeks, before traveling to Lambeth in search of somewhere else.

I used to go to Clapham Common and fish on the lake there; getting my fishing licence was the first thing I did when I arrived. I was staying at Rushford Street Hostel when they told me about Emmaus Lambeth. I didn’t want to be on benefits anymore, so Emmaus sounded perfect.

When I arrived they were so friendly. I sat down on the sofa, turned the TV on and was offered a cup of tea. I thought “This looks promising”. In Lambeth, I had training and gained NVQ qualifications. I then went on to have a ‘Staff in training’ job as an Assistant Community Leader in Emmaus St Albans where I later became a deputy for a year. I was loving it! 

Unfortunately, due to two close family members becoming ill I needed to move closer to home and give up the job role. I tried to get in to Emmaus Sheffield but they were full, so Emmaus Leeds was the closest option.

Not long after I had a streak of luck. Two rooms became available in Emmaus Sheffield and I jumped at the opportunity to be closer to my family, I really enjoyed living in my home city. After two years of being at Emmaus Sheffield, I found myself wasting my money on things I didn’t need. I needed to make a change.

I saved up for a camper van and lived in that for a while before being offered a room in a house with a friend. I did Support Work for the council for a year, before working for an agency doing Residential and Outreach Support.

My friend, who I was living with decided to sell her house, I couldn’t afford to rent anywhere decent and I didn’t want to go back to a poor standard of living. I was also working long shifts and wasn’t coping well with the lack of sleep. I decided to go back to Emmaus as I knew I would have somewhere nice to call home and variety of job options.

I’ve been in the Emmaus South Wales Community since June this year and I really enjoy being here. I carry out a range of different jobs including the cooking and working in the shops. I have recently been offered the responsibility of running one of our shops for three days a week. I can’t wait!

Looking into the future I plan on gaining my thirty-two tonne Lorry Licence, which I am already in the process of doing. This will open new job opportunities for me in the Emmaus social enterprise and in future if I wish to move on.

To allow us to continue to support people like Dave Donate now