THE DUCHESS of Norfolk Georgina Fitzalan-Howard has helped to open a newly renovated night shelter for homeless people in Bratislava.
The Duchess travelled to Slovakia in her role as patron of Depaul International, an international charity supporting homeless and vulnerable people across the globe.
The Duchess spent time meeting homeless clients, learning about their experiences and understanding how Depaul helps them to improve their situations.
The Duchess of Norfolk said she was honoured to open the new facilities, adding: “My visits to Slovakia always leave an impression on me, and this time more than ever. As Patron of Depaul, I am determined that we raise awareness of our work internationally and secure funds to enable the night shelter to be fully renovated.”
She was joined by Group Chief Executive Mark McGreevy and Arundel residents John Booth, an ambassador for the charity, and Jason Eades, its fundraising development officer.
The newly renovated North Wing of St Vincent Depaul’s night shelter in Bratislava accommodates 150 clients a night, with 25 more permanent bed spaces and provides clients with food, clothing and access to basic hygiene services.
The improved facilities will help Depaul to improve its services for homeless people and increase the chances of finding permanent solutions for their problems. A new floor, electrics, sanitation and heating have been installed and there is now a new entrance and reception to welcome clients.
Also attending the opening were the Swiss and Irish Ambassadors to the Slovak Republic, the Mayor of Ruzinov, the chief executive of the British Slovak Business Centre, local dignitaries, and donors who contributed to the re-development.
Before leaving, the Duchess spent time visiting both Depaul’s St Louise’s Rehabilitation Shelter which caters for dozens of people with complex health problems and the St Elizabeth’s Healthcare Centre which offers first aid and medical care through a drop-in service.
The Duchess also joined an event hosted by the British Chamber of Commerce in the Slovak Republic.