Our response to the Coronavirus (Covid 19)
Before Boris Johnson's announcement on Monday evening (23rd March), we had already taken the decision to close this week. We now do not plan to operate from St. John's Parish Rooms for the foreseeable future.
However, we want to be clear on, who amongst our guests, can't go to the shops, prepare meals or have them prepared for them. We think there are just four or five in this category. We plan to set up a scheme that sees individual volunteer cooks preparing meals at their homes for these few. These meals could then be delivered by individual volunteers to previously agreed locations. A clear set of protective guidelines would need to be followed.This scheme should start on 3rd April.
Volunteers who are prepared to be involved in this way have already been contacted. We are also looking to recruit some new volunteers. If this scheme can be made to work, it could be scaled up, so that if more people become homeless as a result of relationships breaking down in households, we can support them in this way. This contact will mean the ongoing need for accommodation can be talked about and steps taken.
We will continue to keep the Rough Sleepers team at County Hall informed of those we know are rough sleeping. County will continue to follow these up and hopefully provide suitable, if temporary, accommodation, especially in the case of those with underlying health issues (all of them?). It will be interesting to see if County can reach an agreement with hotels whereby empty hotel rooms become available for the homeless. We will be asking them about this in the next day or two.
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.
We are delighted to say that our quiz night raised a total of more than £300. Much needed funds for our coffers. Thanks very much for the time and effort put in by the organisers.
Opendoors Annual General Meeting
Our AGM this year will no longer take place on Thursday the 16th April 2020.
Existing trustees will meet by video-conferencing and new trustees will be appointed to replace two who are standing down (following the Constitution section 13.5).