In 2009 Emma Brown (36) fled her abusive partner for a Women’s Refuge run by Gosforth-based affordable housing provider Home Group after years of escalating abuse. There, Emma received the support and encouragement that helped her to move on from the trauma of her past and sparked a keen interest in working in the care sector.
She began by helping out at the refuge, becoming involved in working with other victims, relating her own story and supporting staff. Enjoying her time there, she took the opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship at Home Group and after an interview, landed the job.
Her success story does not end there. Emma performed beyond anyone’s expectations, including her own, in her new position, and was so impressive that her colleagues nominated her for the ‘Most Inspiring Apprentice’ award at Home Group’s annual customer and client awards. She duly won.
Now holding an NVQ L2 in business and administration, she’s enjoying a new career as a customer service administrator at the organisation’s customer service centre.
“Home Group has been my guardian angel, providing the opportunity to start a whole new chapter in my life and helping me to gain the confidence and skills to get a job and be successful in the workplace.”
This year the wheel turned full circle for Emma, as she presented awards at the same ceremony she was a winner at last year- a testament to her growing confidence.
And last week, she made an emotional return to the refuge where it all began, to be surprised with the unveiling of a room named in her honour and meet with the staff that were there to support her through the first shaky steps of her new start. The room is for communal use by the current residents of the refuge, allowing them to relax and socialise. It is hoped that Emma’s amazing story will help them to see what could be waiting in their future and encourage them to leave their difficult pasts behind them.
“It’s a great honour to have this room named after me and I hope that because it is here, people who come to the refuge will hear my story and know that someone just like them has made a great life for themselves even after everything we’ve been through.
“I would just like to thank everyone who has helped and supported me, particularly my boss David Molyneux-Johnson who has been wonderful. My life is firmly back on track and I’m looking forward to the future.”
David Molyneux-Johnson, customer service centre performance manager for Home Group, said:
“Emma’s story is truly uplifting and she should be congratulated on all her successes and achievements. It’s fantastic news that she has been recognised with this dedicated room at the refuge. She’s got a bright future ahead of her working in an important part of our operations. As an employer we are committed to apprenticeships to equip people with the skills they need for a successful and rewarding career.”