The Earl and Countess of Wessex visited York Road Project, a charity providing support and accommodation to those experiencing homelessness in Woking on Prince Edward’s 57th birthday last week. The charity were ‘delighted’ to welcome the Royals.
The royal couple took the time to volunteer in the kitchen, helping to prepare lunchtime snacks for the clients which included banana muffins, sausage rolls, and cheese and onion twists.
Sophie and Edward joined staff and volunteers to pack the weekly goody bags for those who use the service the charity provides. These contain a range of items (depending on donations) but typically include fruit, snacks, toiletries and the necessities to make hot drinks.
The couple were then given the opportunity to speak with staff and volunteers at the charity. It was during this meeting the Earl and Countess were presented with a goody bag by the Chair of the Trustees. The goody bag included the charity’s current campaign called ‘Grow Me, Be Happy’.
The current campaign is helping to raise awareness of good mental health and wellbeing for clients, staff and volunteers, who are both at work and at home. The act of taking care and nurturing plants is well documented to have a positive affect on people. It can improve individuals’ wellbeing, both emotionally and mentally.
Speaking about the royal visit, Cherisse Dealtry, CEO of York Road Project commented: “It was lovely to welcome back The Countess of Wessex to volunteer again and to meet HRH the Earl of Wessex for the first time.
“We are honoured to have both of them come and volunteer with us for the morning and hear about the work we continue to do here in Woking.”
Throughout the pandemic, York Road Project has continued to work to support those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Woking and surrounding areas. The project has supported over 170 individual clients, taking in couples and even those with dogs to ensure no one rough slept.
The charity had to redesign its service, transforming from an 11-bed shelter to providing accommodation for 32 clients, this included building 10 purpose-built pods to accommodate the numbers at the start of the pandemic.
The visit marked the first joint public appearance for The Earl and Countess of Wessex since Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview over a week ago.
An official statement came from The Queen on the same day as the couple visited York Road Project; it stated the claims of racism made talking to Oprah were ‘concerning’ and the matter is set to be dealt with privately within the family.