The Countess of Wessex returned to a homeless shelter in Farnham this Monday, ten years after she first opened the charity’s facility in Simmonds Court.
The Farnham homelessness and drug rehabilitation centre is run by Transform Housing and Support, a charity dedicated to helping those without a roof over their head. Since it was opened by the Countess in 2004, the centre has been able to support 73 of Farnham’s most destitute to turn their lives around.
Founded in 1972, as the Surrey Community Development Trust, Transform Housing and Support tackles the problems of homelessness and drug and alcohol dependency across Surrey, Sutton and Wokingham. Although the charity’s initial aim was only to provide accommodation for ex-offenders, they have since expanded their reach to a wider range of people, who are just as vulnerable. Through the work of their dedicated staff, they now provide aid to over 1,000 people every year.
The Countess of Wessex is Patron of Transform.
Upon her arrival, Sophie was greeted by Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Dame Sarah Goad, High Sheriff of Surrey, Peter Lee, chairman of Surrey County Council, Councillor David Munro, and the mayors of Waverley and Farnham.
During her visit, she spoke to some of the people living at the shelter, before meeting the charity’s staff and trustees. She also visited two of Transform clients, Sarah and Andy, in their own flat.
Afterwards, the Countess visited Hawkins House, which houses people dealing with drug and alcohol issues. There, she attended a support meeting with some of the clients, and was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Mo, a client who has managed to overcome his drinking habit with help from Transform.
The Chairman of Transform Housing and Support, David Turner, said: “We are extremely grateful to our Royal patron, HRH Sophie the Countess of Wessex, for coming to see our work in Farnham and for all the support she gives to Transform. We were delighted that the countess was able to return to Simmonds Court for its 10-year anniversary and join a support meeting to see first-hand how we transform the lives of homeless and vulnerable people in Farnham.”