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Camilla’s day in London: Duchess opens Emmaus UK building and visits Waterloo Life and Times exhibition

The Duchess of Cornwall opened a new community accommodation building for the charity Emmaus UK in London on Tuesday.

Camilla has been Patron of Emmaus UK since 2006.

Supporting those once homeless, Emmaus provides housing in one of its various Emmaus Communities. It affords residents employment with one of its social operations, which in turn assists those in need to get their lives back on track and move forward in a positive direction. Those who reside in the Communities are known as “companions.”

Emmaus Lambeth in conjunction with the West London Mission developed 27 extra accommodation places at a new site in Kennington.

Craig Dunstan, homeless for nine months before he came to Emmaus in 2011, showed Camilla around the Community.

The Duchess met companions working in the kitchen and joined them for a cup of tea to hear about their experiences and how Emmaus is assisting them to turn their lives around.

Camilla went to observe other parts of the accommodation decorated by companions. Decorating their space gives a sense of pride and ownership. It also provides useful new skills such as painting and decorating, building maintenance, DIY and basic plumbing.

She also had the chance to meet companions decorating their rooms before everyone came together for a reception in the new living area.

Prior to her departure, The Duchess of Cornwall unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening of Emmaus Lambeth at St. Luke’s.

Camilla visited the current Emmaus Lambeth community in West Norwood in 2007.

The Emmaus Movement began in the 1940’s in France by Abbe Pierre, who was a priest, MP and Resistance Movement hero. Pierre was horrified by the homelessness and poverty that was rampant. He allowed 18 men to stay at his home who in turn sustained themselves by revamping other’s rubbish. New housing schemes were then created throughout France and the world.

In 1992, the first cooperative was established in Cambridge.

The building in which the new housing is based is already home to a community centre run by the West London Mission, a Christian charity dedicated to assisting homeless and vulnerable people in London.

Named St Luke’s Hub, it offers a variety of projects and classes to support and encourage members of the local community with a keen emphasis on financial inclusion

On arrival at St Luke’s Hub, The Duchess heard about the Money Champions project that offers local people the chance to acquire skills that help them to handle their finances and affords access to get online.

The West London Mission is very supportive of Emmaus and shares the charity’s dedication to being an advocate for homeless people across London.

Following the visit on Tuesday, Camilla made an announced stop to view the Waterloo Life and Times exhibition at The Fan Museum in Greenwich.

Coinciding with the 2015 bicentenary, Waterloo: Life & Times showcases fans and fan leaves created to remember significant military battles and victories leading up to the Battle of Waterloo.

The Fan Museum holds over 5,000 fans and fan leaves with examples from all over the world from the 11th century to the present day.

The exhibition incorporates fans printed with portraits of heroic individuals like Nelson and Wellington and fan leaves printed in England but intended for Spain, such as those commemorating the accession to the throne of Ferdinand VII.

The Duchess has previously visited The Fan Museum in 2008, 2009 and 2013.

Waterloo: Life & Times runs until 10th May 2015. For ticket information visit: The Fan Museum.

Featured photo credit: Andy Gott via photopin cc

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