Coventry homeless man says city he grew up in suddenly 'felt so different'

A man who found himself sleeping rough on the streets of Coventry has spoken about his 'shock' of becoming homeless. Matt Postlethwaite finally sought help from a charity and now spends his time helping other homeless people.

As part national Volunteers' Week (June 3 to 9) a Coventry homelessness charity is calling for more local support. Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire provides accommodation, support and work opportunities for up to 17 people who have faced homelessness.

Matt received support from Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire. Now, he has returned to volunteer. Speaking about his homelessness experience, Matt said: “Becoming homeless was a massive shock. The first night was terrifying. It was the city I had grown up in, so I knew it like the back of my hand, but it felt completely different when I was trying to find somewhere safe to sleep. I carried my whole life in my bag, which took its toll. I often didn’t speak to anyone for hours on end. I didn’t like begging, but I had to do it. People would walk around me and avoid eye contact; they wouldn’t see me as a human being.”

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After months of sleeping rough, Matt sought help from a rehab charity and was then supported by Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire until he felt ready to live independently again. He added: "After I moved out, I started volunteering at Emmaus for one day each week, helping out in the charity shop serving customers. For me, volunteering is a way to give back.

“I’d recommend it because no day is the same and it’s a lovely bunch of people. It looks good on your CV and you know that every penny you’re making in the shop is going to a good cause."

Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire relies heavily on volunteers like Matt to operate its charity shop and provide essential services to those in need. Volunteers contribute their time and skills to various aspects of the charity's operations, from sorting donations to assisting customers in the shop. The charity welcomes individuals from all walks of life to join their friendly volunteer team.

Speaking about the appeal, Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire Community Leader Falishia Channer said: “Homelessness is still a big issue, especially with the way things are financially right now. Our Coventry shop is really important because it raises the funds we need to help people turn their lives around.

"Volunteers are such a valuable part of our team, and we’re always looking for more local people to join us. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, retired, or just have some time to spare – everyone’s welcome.”

The charity is calling on local people to join its team of volunteers to help run its popular charity shop. The Emmaus charity shop on Red Lane in Coventry specialises in selling second-hand furniture and homeware. Volunteers regularly give up their time to help out on the shop floor, including serving customers and sorting donated items for sale.

Anyone interested in volunteering can find out more here or by calling 024 7666 1466.