“Companion” is the name we give to someone who lives and works in the Emmaus community and lives the life of a companion.
Each companion has an individual bedroom with TV and lives in the community with all meals provided in a communal dining room and normal living expenses are covered. Each receives a weekly charitable allowance to pay for any extras.
Companions are encouraged to register with the local doctor and to visit the local dentist and optician as appropriate.
Once accepted as a companion a person has to sign off any benefits they may have been receiving such as income support, jobseekers allowance or incapacity benefit. Unlike hostels, Emmaus companions work a 40 hour week and normally have two days off a week, a long weekend after three months, and a week’s holiday after six months. Once a companion has been with the community for over six months they receive 20 days holiday along with Bank holidays.
There are few rules which include no alcohol or illegal drugs are allowed on the premises.
Appropriate free training is provided in health and safety, manual handling, basic food hygiene and other subjects as relevant. Opportunities are provided to access other courses, many of which are local and free. companions can take on positions of responsibility within the community such as team leaders, duty team members and “Responsible companions” who assist the community Leader.
Most companions stay for at least a few months but some leave after a short time and others stay for years.