Kate Middleton and Prince William pose for a photo with a Big Issue seller after visiting his home
A Big Issue salesman shook hands with the Duke of Cambridge and invited him to visit his modular home after telling William he heard he had sold the magazine.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Eamonn Kelly, 52, while visiting Jimmy’s Cambridge, a charity that supports people on their journey through homelessness.
Kelly, who has sold the Big Issue in Cambridge for 13 years, is one of the first residents of Jimmy’s modular homes, which first opened in 2020.
Cambridge is one of the first cities in the UK to explore this solution to tackling homelessness, providing small self-catering accommodation for people who want to continue their journey to a fully independent life.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Eamonn Kelly, 52, (pictured) today while visiting Jimmy’s Cambridge, a housing charity that helps people on their journey from homelessness
Mr Kelly, originally from Belfast, told William: ‘I’ve heard you’re a Big Issue seller?’
The Duke replied, “Well, I tried.”
Mr Kelly shook William’s hand and said to him, ‘Well, I work for the Big Issue, I sell in Cambridge.’
He then invited William and Kate to his modular home where they spoke at length.
Afterwards, they spoke to those involved in the project about tackling homelessness, and when they returned to their waiting Range Rover, William saw Mr. Kelly again.
Eamonn, who has been selling the Big Issue in Cambridge for 13 years, was delighted when Prince William called him at the end of their visit for a photo op
Mr Kelly is one of the first residents of Jimmy’s Modular Homes, which first opened in 2020. He was delighted to welcome the Duke and Duchess into his home
“There he is,” cried William.
“Eamonn, come here, I’m going to take a picture with you.
“Who’s got your camera?”
Mr Kelly posed for a photo, standing between William and Kate and thanked them for it.
Afterwards, Mr Kelly said: ‘They are down to earth people, they are very genuine, they are interested in you as a person, not in your past or your future.
“You can’t get any better than those two people.”
The Cambridges last visited Jimmy’s in 2012 when they opened a hostel for charity.
Mr Kelly said after the meeting that the royals were genuine and interested in what he had to say and him as a person
Everyone who lives in one of Jimmy’s modular homes will receive a significant support system through the charity’s expert team, who help them address issues surrounding mental health, work, addiction or reconnecting with families. The Duke is pictured here meeting residents
Service user Pete Dean, 59, met William and Kate in 2012 and spoke with them again during Thursday’s visit.
The Duke said to Mr Dean, “I can’t believe it’s been ten years, Pete.
“I was in your room, I was sitting on your bed talking about what you had done in your life.”
After a private talk with the Cambridges, Mr Dean, who now has his own flat, said: ‘They remembered it was fun.
Afterwards, they spoke with those involved in the project about tackling homelessness. They are pictured here with Jimmy’s teammates in deep conversation
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pictured here saying goodbye to Eamonn Kelly outside his modular home
“He said he’d come see me in ten years.
‘I had a very long conversation with them.
“They’re very nice people.”
Jimmy’s chief executive Mark Allan said the Cambridges visit “means a lot” and that William and Kate were “genuinely interested in tackling homelessness”.
Everyone who lives in one of Jimmy’s modular homes will receive a significant support system through the charity’s expert team, who help them address issues surrounding mental health, work, addiction or reconnecting with families.
The charity said all of this is vital to ensuring that once someone is in a home they can stay in it.