Thursday 5 December 2013

Royal visit to Emmaus Hastings & Rother

Hastings and Rother HRH looks around workshop and meets volunteer Richard xx 131205

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall paid a Christmas visit to Emmaus Hastings & Rother, on Thursday 5 December.

Hastings and Rother Mary Rigg and HRH catch up over a cuppa 131205

The Duchess was given a guided tour of the community by Mary Rigg, who joined her earlier in 2013 on a trip to visit Emmaus in Paris. The December visit also marked the official opening of the community's accommodation block.

The Duchess of Cornwall has been Royal Patron of Emmaus UK since 2006 and regularly visits Emmaus communities to learn more about the charity’s work and meet the people it helps.

Emmaus Hastings & Rother provides a home and meaningful work for 15 people who have experienced homelessness. Companions, as the residents at Emmaus are known, live on site in purpose-built housing and work in the charity’s social enterprise, a shop selling second-hand furniture and other donated items, and a recently opened café.

Mary Rigg came to Emmaus after a relationship broke down and she found herself homeless. Initially she lived at Emmaus Brighton & Hove, but moved to Hastings & Rother last year. She has recently been very involved in opening the new café, Charlie’s, and has responsibility for running it day to day.

Mary said: “It was lovely to have The Duchess visit Emmaus Hastings & Rother, her visit was a real Christmas treat for the community. When I met her in Summer 2013 I was overwhelmed by how much she knew about Emmaus and what a fantastic supporter she is.

“Seeing the Emmaus community in Paris, which has been around for 60 years, showed me what could be possible for Emmaus Hastings & Rother. We’re still a relatively new community but there is lots of potential here to grow. The new café is our latest venture and I’m really pleased to be taking such an active role in getting that up and running.”

During her visit, Her Royal Highness officially opened the accommodation block on site. Known as Charlie Jordan House, the building is being named in memory of the first Chairman of Emmaus Hastings & Rother, who sadly died just after the group took ownership of the community site in 2009.

David Cooper, Chairman of Emmaus Hastings & Rother, said: “Charlie Jordan was a inspirational man and was the person who had the vision and the drive to get this community going. For many years he was Chairman of Emmaus Brighton & Hove, but he recognised a need for more homelessness provision in Hastings & Rother, so pulled together a group of people to get a new community started here.

"We will be eternally grateful for what Charlie did, and it seems fitting that the building should be named after him as a permanent reminder of this. Having The Duchess of Cornwall here to support this is an honour, and a great tribute to Charlie.”