The Countess of Wessex was in Salisbury today to officially open Alabaré Place, a hostel run by the charity Alabaré Christian Care and Support. It has been home to 33 vulnerable residents since October.
The Countess arrived at around 11am dressed in an elegant black and cream suit. She was shown the accommodation, ICT suite, gym, garden, Enterprise Room and Learning Room. She also met many of the residents.
Hannah Cairney and baby George were a hit with the Countess. She spoke to Hannah about the Mother and Baby unit and took a real shine to George.
Chris Sewell also got the chance to meet the Countess and show off some of his artwork. He creates drawings to order and turns some of his art into key rings which he sells for £6. “She liked the key rings – they were quite a big hit and she thinks what I am doing is really good,” he said.
The architectural focus of the building is a four storey high glass atrium and it was in the Atrium that the Countess heard the Alabaré Place choir sing. She also cut a birthday cake marking the 21st anniversary of Alabaré Christian Care and Support, unveiled a commemorative plaque and signed the visitors book.
Caroline Evans was very pleased to be chosen by the Countess to help reveal the plaque and to talk to her about her work. Caroline works in Café Alabaré as part of the learning disabilities support provided by the charity and she spoke to the Countess about this, her pottery, and she also presented a posy of flowers. “It was great meeting her. The best bit was talking to her about my pottery and I was overwhelmed to be picked out to open the plaque with her, ” she said.
The event was a good day for the charity. Andrew Lord, Alabaré Christian Care and Support’s Chief Executive said “It’s absolutely wonderful that HRH The Countess of Wessex visited our great place this morning. It’s a great honour for us. I know the residents were very pleased with the interest that she showed them.”
Alabaré Place provides high quality accommodation and purpose built training facilities for service users in an environmentally friendly building. The adjacent grade II listed St Barnard’s Cross building was converted into 8 flats to provide Move-on accommodation for hostel residents.
Find out more about the work that Alabaré does with homeless and vulnerable people at www.alabare.co.uk.