Royal Visit to Emmaus Preston
Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, met with formerly homeless people, staff and supporters of homelessness charity, Emmaus, when she visited the charity’s Preston megastore on Friday 8 December.
The Duchess, who is Royal Patron of Emmaus UK, was given a tour of the charity megastore, the UK’s largest charity shop, by Emmaus support worker and formerly beneficiary of the charity, Karen Wallis. Karen dramatically turned her life around after escaping an abusive partner and overcoming drug addiction. She moved to Emmaus Preston in 2012 and the support she received from the charity changed her life. Karen is now employed by the charity to support others who are trying to find a way out of homelessness.
Karen gave Her Royal Highness a tour of the store, introducing her to companions and volunteers from Emmaus Preston, as well as companions and staff from other Emmaus communities across the North West.
I have loved today. The Duchess's visit means such a lot to the community at Emmaus Preston. I found The Duchess so down to earth and pleasant to talk to, the way she interacts with the companions makes them feel so at ease. Although she is our Royal Patron we know how busy she is, so for her to take time out of her schedule to visit us really does mean the world to everyone."
Karen Wallis, Emmaus Preston Support Worker.
At the end of the tour, a choir from Emmaus Salford performed Christmas Carols for The Duchess and, as part of the reception; Her Royal Highness joined other guests by writing message on a Christmas decoration, placing it onto the community Christmas tree.
Her Royal Highness's visit today has been a fantastic experience for companions. They were able to show The Duchess the great work they do here at the community. We don’t have paid staff; the companions have done all the work to set-up this shop, the largest charity shop in the country. We were also able to recognise our local commercial partners for all the work they do with us in donating goods that we are able to sell in our shops. It’s been a brilliant opportunity to thank our volunteers for all the hard work they do for us. I think the whole community has benefited from the day, and it’s great that we have been able to put Emmaus on the map in Preston".
Stephen Buchanan, Community Director at Emmaus Preston
Emmaus Preston opened in 2009 and is home to 26 companions. It has three shops in Preston, one next to the community home, the megastore and a high street store in Preston City Centre.