A former homeless man has described how he uses his experience sleeping rough to make a difference for a Gloucestershire charity.

“The more drugs I took, the emptier I felt. Now, the more I give, the better I feel,” said Michael ‘Spike’ Hudson, now a trustee of Emmaus Gloucestershire.

The charity owns five second-hand shops in Gloucester, Nailsworth, Cheltenham, and Stroud, all staffed by its ‘companions’ - people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.

Spike was one such person, leaving his family home at 17 and spending ten years moving across the UK.

Heavily involved with drink and drugs, Spike alternated between sleeping rough and in hostels when there was space.

A run-in with police led to Spike moving to London in 1997, where he was eventually invited to take part in a UK-wide research project with Emmaus on how to end homelessness.

He says working on the project changed his life. He soon became a trustee of the charity.

“From being homeless myself I can say that Emmaus are an organisation working hard to address the real needs of people who have experienced homelessness,” said Spike.

“I’m sure there are lots of people who feel like they should give more, and the role of an Emmaus trustee is a great way to share skills and experience to help make a difference to a positive cause.”

Joe Feeley, chief executive at Emmaus Gloucestershire, hopes Spike’s story highlights that people from all walks of life can help make a difference to homeless people.

He said: “Trustees are vital to the work of our charity. Without their support, scrutiny and challenge we would not be able to operate effectively.

“The role of a trustee can be demanding but ultimately very rewarding; I take my hat off to those who rise to the challenge.”

Spike has shared his story ahead of trustees’ week, a celebration of their important role for charities beginning November 12 to 16.

Emmaus is encouraging applications from individuals with a professional background or with skills and experience in e-sales, business, marketing, communications or fundraising.

If you would like to apply, contact Emmaus Gloucestershire on 01452 413095 or by email at admin@emmausglos.org.uk.