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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Sign Of The Times: Brighton Charity Teams-Up Formerly Homeless People With Royalty Over Zoom Call

Five formerly homeless people joined a Zoom call with royalty, when a visit to Brighton had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, was planning to visit Emmaus Brighton & Hove earlier this month, as part of her role as Patron of Emmaus UK. 

When new coronavirus restrictions meant she wasn't able to attend, Camilla sent the community a hamper of treats and the team looked for alternative ways for a meeting to go ahead. 

Like so many people during lockdown, they turned to technology to make it happen.

The Duchess of Cornwall was joined on the call by five Emmaus companions, as residents are known, as well as Chief Executive, Christine Squince and Community Support Worker, David Pilkington. 

They discussed the challenges of lockdown and The Duchess said how disappointed she was not to have been able to visit them in person.

The Duchess told the companions that she had spent a lot of time in and around Brighton as a child and had even learned to swim in the sea there. 

BBC news visits Making It Out at Emmaus Brighton

She praised the work Emmaus Brighton & Hove does and the difference they make to the local community.

Emmaus Brighton & Hove offers a home and meaningful work to people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion. 

The fifty-seven residents there, known as companions, gain valuable work experience in the charity's second-hand shops and café, which generate the funds needed to pay for a home, food, training and individual support for the community.

Companion, Graham Timmons, spoke to The Duchess about his work arranging collections and deliveries at the community and even managed to share a joke: 

"I am the first Timmons to meet a royal, so I told Her Royal Highness that and she said, 'be careful what you wish for!' We all laughed."

Another companion, community chef, David (pseudonym to protect privacy), spoke of the benefits of living with so many people during lockdown:  

"It was a great privilege to talk to The Duchess and answer her questions about the catering I've been providing for companions during lockdown. 

"I look forward to future discussions and support."

The call was made even more special as it came at the end of Chief Executive, Christine Squince's 17 year career at the charity: 

"After the disappointment of the recent visit not going ahead, we were delighted that a Zoom call with Her Royal Highness could be arranged – and just in time to mark my final days at Emmaus Brighton & Hove. 

"It will be a special memory for me and everyone else at the community." 

Emmaus Brighton & Hove is the largest Emmaus community in the UK. To find out more, visit

by: Mike Cobley

Related links

Emmaus Brighton & Hove


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