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Two community members from homelessness charity Emmaus Merseyside have attended a celebration event at Clarence House with Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall.

On Wednesday 10 November, Margy Allen, Charity Superstore Manager at Emmaus Merseyside, and Stewart Wood, a formerly homeless man supported by the charity, attended an event to celebrate thirty years since Emmaus was established in the UK.

Guests were invited from 29 Emmaus communities across the UK to attend a lunch event at Clarence House, the royal residence of the charity’s royal patron, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall. Both Margy and Stewart had the opportunity to talk to Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, sharing their personal experience and involvement with the charity.

Litherland resident Margy joined Emmaus Merseyside in 2015 as a volunteer, helping to establish both the charity’s store and community home. She then gained full-time employment with the charity and has helped many people on their journey out of homelessness.

Margy said: “This was my first trip to London and it was a great experience visiting Clarence House and chatting to Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall. We talked about my progress with Emmaus and her visit to an Emmaus shop in the North West in 2017, when Her Royal Highness purchased one of our upcycled reindeers. It was great to hear she remembered the visit fondly and still makes use of the reindeer every Christmas.”

Stewart arrived at Emmaus Merseyside in 2017 after spending time homeless on the streets and in night shelters. He has since made Emmaus his home, gaining skills, confidence and work experience to help with his future plans.

Stewart said: “We were welcomed by Her Royal Highness, as were companions people from various other Emmaus communities from around the UK. It was a fantastic trip, and I really enjoyed the day. I feel very honoured to have been chosen to represent Emmaus Merseyside.”

Emmaus Merseyside is an award-winning charity which provides a home, training, work opportunities and individual support to people who have experienced homelessness. The charity has a 28-bedroom community building in Seaforth where people are given a home and support for as long as they need it.

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The event at Clarence House was part of Emmaus’s 30th anniversary celebrations, reflecting on what the federation of charities has achieved in the past three decades. Emmaus was brought to the UK from France in 1991, and there are now 29 communities supporting more than 850 formerly homeless people by providing them with a safe home, training, tailored support and meaningful work in a social enterprise.

Charlotte Talbott, CEO of Emmaus UK, said: “We are extremely grateful to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and the staff at Clarence House for hosting a fantastic 30 year celebration event. Countless lives have been transformed in Emmaus communities and groups over the past 30 years and it was important to be able to bring some of those people together, along with their guests, to mark this important point in our history. It was a great day and a fitting tribute, and I look forward to seeing Emmaus reach even more people over the next 30 years!”

To find out more or support Emmaus Merseyside, head to www.emmaus.org.uk/merseyside.