Royal visit is step forward for homeless charityBy Amy Taylor
March 08, 2013
AN Aldershot charity received a royal visitor to mark its 20th anniversary as the Countess of Wessex unveiled a plaque in honour of the occasion.
Staff and guests at Step by Step, a homelessness charity, were delighted to meet the Countess, who toured its
purpose-built centre in Crimea Road, last Thursday.
The charity started as Blackwater Valley Accommodation Projects, a small scheme set up by local mother Bridget Crowther to tackle youth homelessness in Aldershot and the surrounding area.
It began by opening a 10-bed shelter in Arthur Street in 1992, and has since grown to offer services that support 800 young people a year.
The Countess, who is married to the Queen’s son Prince Edward, met with some of those who had been helped by the charity, who told her about their journeys before and after Step by Step’s intervention.
She thanked the charity for its invitation and encouraged the young people present to keep up their efforts.
A number of dignitaries turned out to welcome the
special guest, including the MP for Aldershot, Sir Gerald Howarth, and the High Sheriff of Hampshire, Hallam Mills.
Mr Mills said: “This was my first visit to Step by Step and I was able to see how flexible the charity’s help for the homeless or potentially homeless actually is. The organisation caters for different needs so each
person can progress at their own pace but never become too reliant on its services.”
For chief executive Amanda Dubarry, the Countess’ visit was a sign of the role Step by Step plays in the community.
“We are immensely proud of our young people and staff and we were thrilled so many local dignitaries took the time to join us for our special day and celebrate our achievements.”
Chairman Mike Brown added: "This was a splendid day for everyone at Step by Step. Many of our young people were able to talk to the Countess about their own personal journey towards becoming fully integrated and contributing members of the local community."