Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, met with formerly homeless people, staff and supporters of Emmaus Burnley on Friday 8 December.

The Duchess, who is Royal Patron of Emmaus UK, was given a tour of the Emmaus Preston Megastore, the UK’s largest charity shop, and introduced to companions, volunteers, staff and trustees from Emmaus communities across the North West.

Leading the tour was Karen Wallis, Deputy Support Manager at Emmaus Preston and former beneficiary of the charity. 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.

Her Royal Highness was introduced to community members Chair from Emmaus Burnley to learn more about the work of the charity in Lancashire.

Alun, companion at Emmaus Burnley, said: “It was really nice to meet HRH and to talk about our community and our new venture in Rochdale. She said she was going to put it on her bucket list to visit our community and so we will hold her to that.”

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.

Jemma Caffrey, Key Support Manager at Emmaus Burnley, said: “It meant a great deal to our community to meet our Royal Patron. She was lovely and very approachable. She had a chat with some of our companions and seemed genuinely interested in their stories. We are looking forward to her visiting our community for a cup of tea sometime.”

There are six Emmaus communities across the North West located in Bolton, Burnley, Merseyside, Mossley, Preston and Salford. Across the UK there are currently 29 Emmaus communities, supporting more than 790 companions.