Her Royal Highness visits Emmaus Village Carlton
Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, visited Emmaus Village Carlton on 10 December, to meet with companions (formerly homeless people) and officially open the newly refurbished Iola Newman Building, which is home to the charity’s shops.
The Duchess, Patron of Emmaus, met with staff, volunteers and companions, while touring the community, shops and bistro at Emmaus Village Carlton. Her Royal Highness then officially opened the Iola Newman Building, named in memory of a long term supporter whose legacy enabled the building’s renovation, with a plaque and formal reception.
The Duchess of Cornwall was welcomed to Emmaus Carlton by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, who was supported by her Cadets. The Lord-Lieutenant said: “It was a tremendous pleasure to welcome HRH to Bedfordshire to visit Emmaus. This organisation is one of the jewels in our crown in our county and one which The Duchess of Cornwall supports wholeheartedly as their Patron.
"All the amazing people who are involved with Emmaus deserve recognition for their continuing work in helping to rebuild lives and give hope for the future. The Royal Visit was a wonderful way to celebrate the commitment and dedication of all at Emmaus Carlton and will be a memorable day for all who attended for a long time to come.”
Helen Jago, Community Leader at Emmaus Village Carlton, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Her Royal Highness to our community. As our patron, she is extremely supportive of the work we do and has regularly spent time with companions the charity supports. We were delighted when she agreed to come and officially open our newly refurbished Iola Newman building.
“Emmaus works because it supports those who have found themselves homeless. It helps them to regain dignity in their lives, to find their self-esteem and enable them to improve their lives. The community becomes their family and, often, their reason for living, and the business offers them the training and development they need for the future.
Tom Blight, a former companion who has been living and working in the community for 20 months, led the tour for The Duchess of Cornwall. After becoming homeless Tom was referred to Emmaus, and has since become a full time member of staff at the community.
Speaking about the visit, Tom said: “It was a real honour to have the privilege of showing Her Royal Highness around our community, introducing her to companions, volunteers and staff. She spoke so passionately about Emmaus, and companions were delighted to meet with her and share their stories.
“Only two weeks ago I became a full time member of staff, as the Warehouse Manager, having previously been a companion. I will hopefully progress within the role, going on to become Warehouse and Recycling Manager and potentially taking on a support role in the community. I love Emmaus; I love its ethos, being able to give back and help others, and being a part of such a fantastic community.”
Emmaus Village Carlton currently supports up to 41 formerly homeless people at one time, and since opening has provided more than 600 formerly homeless people with the tools they need in order to progress. The official opening took place on the 10 December, between 11AM and 12.30PM, at Emmaus Village Carlton, School Lane, Carlton, Bedford, MK43 7LQ.
Emmaus Village Carlton is one of 25 Emmaus communities spread across the UK, supporting around 670 formerly homeless people at one time. It is home to five shops, a successful bistro and a dedicated recycling building. For more information about the charity, visit www.emmaus.org.uk/village_carlton.