On Tuesday 13 December, Her Majesty the Queen Consort, who has had a close relationship with Emmaus since 2006, visited Emmaus SLC to meet with formerly homeless people supported by the charity and tour the social enterprise and community home.

The Queen Consort was met and hosted by Mahesh Pherwani, one of 48 formerly homeless people who live and work at Emmaus SLC. He said, “Meeting Her Majesty the Queen Consort was wonderful. Much of her work supports the more vulnerable parts of society and her visit today shone a light on the work of Emmaus in the UK and the vital support it provides.”

Her Majesty also met with Charlotte Talbott, Chief Executive of Emmaus UK, to learn more about the charity’s plans to explore the development of women-only provision. She spoke with Carolina who is supported by Emmaus SLC to better understand how a women-only space is often important in supporting women who have experienced homelessness.

Carolina said, “The opportunity to meet with Her Majesty the Queen Consort was a very special moment for me. By visiting the Emmaus SLC community, Her Majesty saw how Emmaus supports people to rebuild their lives after homelessness. I was proud to speak to Her Majesty about Emmaus and for her to meet people who have experienced homelessness but are now back on their feet and working hard.”

Charlotte Talbott said, “We are incredibly grateful to Her Majesty the Queen Consort for her support of Emmaus and for visiting Emmaus SLC. The number of people who are experiencing homelessness continues to rise and meaningful, long-term support is vital.

“There are many reasons that people become homeless but there are specific causes that disproportionally affect women. By exploring how we might develop gender-informed provision at Emmaus we will broaden the support we offer and ensure everyone in our communities has a space they feel safe to be able to address the causes of their homelessness and rebuild their lives. It was a pleasure to share our future plans with Her Majesty the Queen Consort and we thank her for her support.”

Following the visit and the tour of the ‘Boutique’ which sells preloved items and where some of the companion’s work, The Queen Consort said a few words to the assembled guests and companions. She said, “Every time I come and visit one (of the communities) I always come away with the same impression that, you know, you have this wonderful feeling of community and people looking after one another – and that’s what Emmaus communities are all about.

“So, I’d like to thank everybody who’s involved, for in making it all work and of course all of the companions – I’ve talked to so many and they always say the same thing, it’s obviously their confidence (that) gets boosted by coming here and they find a path into starting their life again.”

Her Majesty added: “I was very interested to hear about the women’s community, which I think is very important.”

Emmaus SLC (formerly Emmaus Lambeth) opened in 2007 and is a thriving community that offers a home and meaningful work to 48 people who have experienced homelessness. In recent years Emmaus SLC has expanded its work into Croydon, where it offers additional community homes, and they are also looking to exploring how they might develop women-only provision, to cater for the specific needs of women who are experiencing homelessness.