Stories from guests, volunteers, trustees and friends of Devizes Opendoors
One of our regular volunteers, Jo Moore, has been getting to know some of guests and volunteers and in this regular feature on our website we will publish her stories.
Guests who use the drop in services of Opendoors, Devizes, come from a wide range of backgrounds and are people of all ages from young adults to pensioners.
Some have homes of their own, some sofa surf or live in cars or caravans while others sleep rough.
But all are vulnerable. Some have chosen to share the stories of their lives and the reasons why they believe the help given by Opendoors helps them them to get by. This is Lillian’s story.
Lilian, 23, who grew up near Devizes says her childhood was normal and while she wasn’t particularly keen on school she attended regularly. She said: “I didn’t bunk off. I left when I was 16 and I got a job. But it all changed when I was 18 and met a boy a few years older than me.
“He was abusive towards me but I was scared to tell anyone or to leave. It went on for a couple of years but then one night he attacked me while I was asleep.”
She decided she had to get out of the relationship for good and she reported her former partner to the police.
He was later jailed but the relationship left her scarred mentally. An occasional cannabis habit turned into a full-scale addiction to heroin. She found support from new friends but they too had difficult lives and some were dependant on drugs.
But Lillian has now found the strength to start a methadone programme supported by the charity Turning Point which works with Opendoors.
She is gradually reducing her dosage and hopes to get clean.
She said: “I really want to stick with it. I am determined to try and try.
“Coming to the Opendoors drop in sessions really helps me. All the volunteers there are very kind and non judgemental. There are always people to talk to. They do a brilliant job.
“They provide a place where my letters can go and you can have a shower, hot food and get clothing and toiletries.
“I go on a regular basis and it makes a big difference.”
Opendoors moved this autumn to its own premises at the Southbroom Centre in Devizes and Lillian believes this enables the charity to be even more effective.
She said: “It is really nice. It feels quite homely and it is much better that it has its own place.”
*Names have been changed.