Duchess of Cornwall visits homeless charity complex alongside Belfast's peace wall

The Duchess of Cornwall has arrived at a homeless charity complex beside a section of Belfast's longest peace wall for a solo visit.

Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 1:24 pm
Duchess of Cornwall visits the Welcome Centre
Duchess of Cornwall visits the Welcome Centre

SEE: The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles and Camila visit BelfastThe Belfast Welcome Organisation is based on Townsend Street, just yards from heavy metal gates which form part of the peace wall which divides the mainly Unionist/Loyalist lower Shankill Road from the mainly Nationalist/Republican Falls Road.

It has been providing services and support for people affected by homelessness in the city since 1997.

The organisation started off as a community-based drop-in centre and has grown to now offer a street outreach service, crisis accommodation for women, a floating support service and growing furniture project Welcome Home.

Duchess in Belfast

Camilla was guided around the charity's shop by chief executive Sandra Moore and met a number of its staff, volunteers and clients before seeing the workshop where items of furniture are upcycled for sale.

She also spoke with a number of homeless women who come to the centre every day to use its services and learn to upcycle furniture for sale in the shop.

"That's so important to restore your confidence," she told one woman, who had described to her how much the charity's services mean to her life.

"It gets you on the path, and once you are on the path you're going. You are all very brave to talk."

The Duchess of Cornwall at The Welcome Centre

Praising the produce sold in the shop, she added: "The shop is just incredible, real talent."

The duchess was then invited to try her hand at some craftwork before being presented with a "Belfast Newsie" cap crafted from traditional Irish tweed.

She also met Lee-Maria Hughes, whose sister Catherine died at the age of 32 on the streets of Belfast.

The Duchess of Cornwall at The Welcome Centre
The Duchess of Cornwall at The Welcome Centre