The event took place at Clarence House, the royal residence of the charity’s Royal Patron, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall.

Aaron was one of thirty people who have been supported by Emmaus communities across the UK to be invited to the lunch with The Duchess, and to share with her how the charity has made a difference to his life.

As one of the thirty primary guests, Aaron was able to invite current Emmaus North East Companion Michael Ashby, to join him as his guest.

Aaron’s story

Aaron joined Emmaus North East in 2019 after struggling with social housing for over five years and eventually becoming street homeless.

In March 2021, exactly 3 years after joining the community at Emmaus North East, Aaron was offered full time employment within the charity as a Companion and Volunteer Development Worker. He remains in his post today and works closely with current beneficiaries of the charity to help them rebuild their lives.

Read Aaron’s full story.

Aaron said: “I am very grateful for the opportunity to visit London and meet The Duchess. I met some companions and staff from other communities and we shared some stories and ideas. I finally met Terry Waite CBE (President of Emmaus UK) for the first time in the four years I’ve been with Emmaus and he was such a gentleman. My trip meant a lot to me because I probably will never do anything like that again, plus I’ve made a few professional contacts.”

Michael said: “I really enjoyed my trip to London. I feel it helped with my mental health because I had two days away from my local area and I really enjoyed meeting other companions and staff from different communities. My trip meant a lot to me because I have never been to London, never mind meeting someone from the Royal family. It’s a memory that may never be replicated.”

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!”

The event on Wednesday 10 November was part of Emmaus’s 30th anniversary celebrations, reflecting on what the charity 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.

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