On Thursday 14 December, Her Majesty The Queen visited our homelessness charity to celebrate our 25th anniversary and meet with formerly homeless people supported by our charity

The Queen, who became Patron of Emmaus UK as The Duchess of Cornwall, toured our main site in Stokes Croft to learn more about our charity and see how we have grown since Her Majesty’s last visit in 2006.

Emmaus Bristol is one of 30 Emmaus communities across the UK that offers a home, work experience in a social enterprise, training and tailored support to people who have experienced homelessness, poverty and social exclusion.

Led by Jessica Hodge, our Chief Executive, the tour included our second-hand shop, office, upcycling workshop, warehouse and PAT testing area where Emmaus companions test donated electrical items.

During the tour, The Queen met with companions to hear more about how Emmaus Bristol has supported them. Michael, who has been at Emmaus Bristol since August 2023 after spending one month sleeping in his car, gave The Queen an upcycling demonstration. Commenting on meeting The Queen, Michael said:

“I never thought in a million years that I would meet The Queen. Her support of Emmaus is brilliant because it’s not like other charities. Here you get somewhere to live, work, training and the chance to rebuild your life. I upcycle a lot of donated furniture at Emmaus Bristol and I am really happy I got to show The Queen some items.”

The visit was concluded with a reception, where Her Majesty cut an anniversary cake using the Lord-Lieutenant’s sword. To celebrate the visit, we gifted The Queen with two wooden dog bowl holders made by Emmaus Merseyside for her Jack Russell Terrier rescue dogs, Beth and Bluebell. The holders were made using wood sourced from broken bed frames that were otherwise destined for landfill.

Before departing, The Queen browsed our second-hand shop, where upcycled Christmas decorations were on display from Emmaus North East and Emmaus South Manchester. In the shop, The Queen found a pre-loved Christmas plate to purchase before leaving.

Commenting on the event, Jessica Hodge, Chief Executive at Emmaus Bristol, said: 

“We were honoured by The Queen’s visit to Emmaus Bristol during our 25th anniversary year. Seeing Her Majesty seated alongside the people we support symbolises the core of Emmaus – equality and inclusivity in action. It was really rewarding to see the level of genuine interest The Queen took in Emmaus and the work we do. The Queen’s visit was a great gift to all the people who have worked hard to make Emmaus Bristol a thriving charity that has helped so many people recover and rebuild after experiencing homelessness. To celebrate the visit, we were delighted to present The Queen with a gift for her dogs made from reclaimed wood, reflecting our sustainability values.”

The Queen has a longstanding relationship with Emmaus, after becoming Patron in 2006 as The Duchess of Cornwall. Emmaus Bristol was the first site that Her Majesty visited after becoming Patron and today marks her first visit to an Emmaus site since Their Majesties’ Coronation in May.

At today’s event, Her Majesty was received by the Lord-Lieutenant of Bristol, Mrs Peaches Golding; High Sheriff of Bristol, Sharon Foster; The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Steve Pearce; President of Emmaus UK, Sir Terry Waite; and Emmaus UK Chair of Trustees, Jill Garner.

Commenting on the anniversary celebrations, Sir Terry said:

“Having been involved with Emmaus Bristol since it began 25 years ago, I am delighted to offer my congratulations on this anniversary. Many people, staff, volunteers and beneficiaries have worked hard to get to this point. Well done to all!”

This festive season, we are encouraging shoppers to visit one of our shops in Bedminster, Stokes Croft or Sparks Bristol to find affordable pre-loved items while helping to generate income to support people out of homelessness.