A formerly homeless Bedford man was invited to a lunch with Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall last week, to celebrate the charity that helped get him back on his feet and for whom he still volunteers every week.
Geoff Curle, who was previously supported by Emmaus Village Carlton, attended a lunch event at Clarence House on Wednesday 10 November.
The lunch was held to commemorate 30 years since the homelessness charity was established in the UK and was hosted by the charity’s royal patron, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall.
Former hostage, humanitarian and president of Emmaus UK, Terry Waite, also attended and met with the guests.
Geoff was one of 30 people 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.
Geoff joined Emmaus Village Carlton in 2009. The Bedfordshire charity, based near Carlton, supported him for five years when he was at risk of homelessness.
Emmaus gave him a home and the opportunity for meaningful work, until he felt ready to move into independent accommodation. Twelve years on, Geoff continues to volunteer for the charity every week, to thank them for their help when he needed it most.
Speaking about his visit to Clarence House, Geoff said: “It was a lovely day and a great event. I was honoured to be chosen to represent Emmaus Village Carlton and have the chance to meet The Duchess.
“She was extremely friendly and took the time to speak to everyone. Clarence House is a beautiful place, and it was moving to be there celebrating 30 years of a charity that means so much to me.”
The event was part of the 30th-anniversary celebrations of Emmaus in the UK, reflecting on what the charity has achieved in the past three decades.
Originating in France, the first Emmaus community in the UK opened in 1991; there are now 29 across the country, supporting more than 850 formerly homeless people by providing 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 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.”
If you or someone you know could be helped by Emmaus Village Carlton, contact the charity on 01234 720826 and ask to speak to a member of the Support Team. To find out more visit emmaus.org.uk/village-carlton/get-supportF