What is Devizes Opendoors?
It is a charity that has been set up to help people in the Devizes Community Area to find solutions to homelessness; to offer support to local people when they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and to benefit local individuals in need, including the marginalised and vulnerable.
Opendoors exists 100% for the benefit of others, in particular those who are homeless or at risk of becoming so. For the last few years it has provided three cooked meals a week at St. John’s Parish Rooms, Long Street and there are about 15 – 20 people there at most sessions. Along with the good food and company there is the chance of a shower and a few other things (see Opening Times).
The guests are a mixture of rough sleepers, those sleeping in sheds, vans and old boats, sofa surfers and those with their own homes but with issues that can make their tenancies vulnerable.
The team has two paid staff, a coordinator and a deputy coordinator, and over 50 volunteers on a rota with 7 - 9 on per session. Together they prepare the food and the hall, welcome the guests and chat, serve meals and discuss issues in one-to-one conversations. Concerns that get followed up include health (mental and physical) issues, alcohol and drug dependency, criminal activity, financial matters and of course, housing issues.
Like to find out more about? Click to download our Winter 2019-2020 Volunteer Newsletter.
A series of articles about those who access Opendoors services, and those who provide them.
Dates for your Diary
Jumble Sale 10am on 29th February at St Andrews’ Church Hall. Plenty of bargains to be had!
7.30 pm 13th March at Wiltshire Museum, Devizes.
Tables of 4, price £10 per person to include a glass of wine and nibbles. Ticket sales will be announced on Facebook.
There will be a raffle and donation bar. (Prizes for the raffle gratefully received - see John or Hilary.)
Opendoors Annual General Meeting
Our AGM this year will take place on Thursday the 16th April 2020, 7 for 7.30pm at St. Andrew's Church Hall.
The meeting is open to all. We have new trustees to elect and a new set of priorities to agree.
One leading question to consider is, "Should we stop aiming to provide accommodation for local homeless individuals? Should we instead invest in improving the support we offer them as they try to get housing from others?"
If you are interested in finding out more about what we have been doing over the last year, and take part in discussions about our future then please make sure you have the date in your diary.
If you require any further information about the event please contact: John Saunders — Chair of Trustees:
Our Annual Sponsored Sleepout
took place on Sat 11 January to 8am Sun 12 January 2020
St. Mary’s Church - Devizes
Armed with sleeping bags, mats and thermal underwear, 16 participants arrived at St Mary’s, Devizes oldest church, for the annual Sleep Out event with an ambitious plan to double the amount raised last year of £1,390. Having totted up the numbers, it looks like we will smash through that goal, with pledges of £4,000.
Through their JustGiving page, two local 9 year old girls and a 14 year old raised £1050. Local Accountancy firm David Owen, who have made Opendoors their charity for 2020, raised £1800 on the night through two participants.
No Night Shelter in Devizes this Winter
Despite recent cold nights Devizes Opendoors trustees have decided not to open a trial night shelter during February and March. The plan had been to open at week-ends and during times when the temperature was forecast to be at or below freezing for three or more nights. However, trustees have just heard their application for a grant has not been successful. It is also now clear that some of those who have been sleeping rough have recently been helped to find accommodation in other towns by Wiltshire Council.
Be a Devizes Opendoors Befriender
Give a homeless person a hand up - not a handout
This autumn we are looking for people who can empathise and encourage.
We provide full training and you will join a supportive team of volunteer Befrienders.
Please click here to find out more, or contact John Saunders:
If you are homeless, know someone who is, or concerned about someone at risk of becoming homeless we might be able to help. Please call: 07493 825258
To speak to a member of the team during our regular opening times please call: 07722 096046