York Road Project, a charity providing support and accommodation to those experiencing homelessness in Woking, was delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex as volunteers to their temporary facility at the HG Wells Conference Centre in Woking on the 10th March.
Since the start of the pandemic YRP has continued to work to support those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Woking and surrounding areas. Moving to HG Wells Conference Centre in March 2020 the project has supported over 170 individual clients, taking in couples and those with dogs so that 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. YRP also continued to support a further 20 clients in their move-on accommodation.
The Earl and Countess volunteered in the kitchen preparing lunchtime snacks for the clients which included banana muffins, sausage rolls, cheese and onion twists and ginger biscuits. Their Royal Highnesses joined staff and volunteers to pack the weekly goody bags for the clients. These contain varying items (depending on current donations) but include fruit, snacks, toiletries and the necessities to make hot drinks. They then had an opportunity to speak with staff and fellow volunteers.
The Chair of the Trustees presented The Earl and Countess of Wessex with a goody bag which included their current campaign called ‘Grow Me Be Happy’. The project is helping to raise awareness of good mental health & wellbeing for clients, staff and volunteers both at work and at home. The act of caring and nurturing plants is well known to have a positive affect on people. It can improve our wellbeing, emotionally and mentally.
Cherisse Dealtry, CEO of York Road Project said “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.’’