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Local homelessness charity is on the lookout for new trustees

Milee Brambleby, Trustee at Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney

Homelessness charity Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney is appealing for people with professional backgrounds to join its Board of Trustees and are offering a rewarding and satisfying role for anyone interested in using their skills and experience to support a local charity.

Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney provides a home for as long as needed and meaningful work for up to 23 companions who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion, offering them an alternative route out of homelessness within a supportive environment. Companions gain valuable skills through working in the charity’s two second-hand shops at Belsey Bridge Road, Ditchingham and on Market Place in Bungay, collecting furniture, van driving, and customer service. The trustees play an important role, offering their skills, knowledge and experience to help in the development and governance of the charity.

Milee Brambleby, a Conflict Resolution Consultant, who has been a trustee at Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney since 2014, said: “I was blown away when I had a tour of Emmaus – not just by the beauty of the site on the old All Hallows Convent grounds, but also by the work being done. Meeting the companions and understanding what they have lived and what the stability of Emmaus meant to them was an eye-opener. It was the stories of the companions that made me certain that I wanted to be a trustee.”

Norwich-based Milee runs her own business, Common Sense Services, offering workshops on handling conflict and workplace mediations: “As a trustee, I bring my business head and experience in handling conflict. I am part of the business development team looking after the social enterprise side of Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney. We work to see how we can develop our shops further and support the staff with guidance and advice.”

Milee recognises that the role of a trustee isn’t without its challenges: “We’re not a board that turns up to meetings and then disappears for a month. We are all actively involved in different aspects of the community and social enterprise and we’re very hands-on. However, while the challenges of a trustee role can be demanding, we equally we get to do and see wonderful things, such as companion Barry getting a job, Matt getting a flat, or Darren enjoying work experience with a local company – when that happens it more than compensates for the time that any trustee puts in.”

The highlight of Milee’s experience of being a trustee is visiting the community in Ditchingham and meeting new companions: “New companions are often quiet, head down, and obviously hurting in a lot of ways. When I visit after a couple of months that new companion is looking you in the eye, smiling at customers, and maybe giving you a bit of cheek – it’s just glorious to see.”

Milee is keen to get new trustees on board to experience the huge sense of satisfaction that she receives in return for her time: “I get an enormous sense of belonging, being part of the community and being involved in a purposeful and important activity that isn’t about making money. The ethos behind Emmaus is entirely about supporting those that need it while they take the time to rebuild their lives.  I get a huge sense of satisfaction and it is a privilege to be involved in making that happen.

“If you are looking for an opportunity to make an immediate and genuine difference to the life of someone that is really struggling then this is for you. If you’re up for helping in a practical way then you will get so much more back than you ever put in.”

The charity is keen to encourage applications from anyone with professional backgrounds including, but not limited to, planning, quantity surveyor, building surveyor, architect, structural engineer, ICT, health & safety, finance, communications, advertising, retail, direct marketing, fundraising and events management. Trustees meet as a board 12 times each year and individual trustees may also get involved in other ways, as their time permits. The charity provides full induction training and offers reimbursements for travel expenses.

For more information about Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney, head to: www.emmaus.org.uk/norfolk_Waveney. If you would like to apply, contact Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney on 01986 895444 or by email at: info@emmausnorfolkandwaveney.org