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Devizes opendoors

Our regular opening times are:

  • Mondays          11:00-13:00
  • Wednesdays  09:30-11:30
  • Thursdays       11:00-13:00
  • Fridays              17:00-18:30

At each of our sessions you can find a hot meal, warm drinks, surplus food, clothing, shoes, toiletries, toilet and shower facilities and one-to-one support and signposting. Please call 01380 819909 for enquiries.

Donate with JustGiving.Pay with Mastercard, Visa, American express, PayPal, Apple Pay or Direct Debit.

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The Impact of Volunteering on the Volunteer

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The following article was written by one of our regular volunteers for Homeless Sunday, October 2019

My decision to volunteer for Opendoors came from an unusual ‘place’ compared to most people. I have been living in Devizes since 2008, through Scouting I was aware of the Sleep Out but didn’t really give it much thought. Compared to walking down the South Bank in the early 80’s and seeing beggars in London and Paris, homelessness was barely visible here.

My involvement was triggered by my experience of helping a close family member with mental illness deal with benefit reassessments. This made me realise how precarious people’s situations can become through no fault of their own and encouraged me to start volunteering a few years ago. I was right, a lot of people who come to Opendoors have been mentally scarred by unhappy childhoods, adult relationship breakups or ptsd after serving in the armed forces. Addiction to drugs or alcohol may occur, but the root cause of the addiction is the need to numb the feelings and find solace.

To paraphrase Jesus, ‘the homeless will always be with us’ because there will always be some people who are so damaged that they shun society. I do feel strongly however that the situation has been pointlessly exacerbated in the UK through the unwillingness of successive governments to build social housing and encourage low cost housing for fear, I think, of reducing house prices, thus antagonising voters and the ‘preserve the countryside in aspic’ lobby which I think is far too strong in England.

It is also crazy to think that a homeless person should tackle their addictions before being considered fit to be on a housing list, where is the incentive to stay ‘clean’ or sober when you are chilled to the bone?

I enjoy attending Opendoors meal sessions because of the company, the people I chat with are intelligent and interesting and can certainly take a joke! I do the cooking about once a month which is a challenge considering that I usually cater for 5, not 25! We have a freezer in the parish rooms which is often full with food donated by supermarkets so we have the challenge of meal planning with what is available on the day; which goes some small way in also tackling the issue of food waste. It is frightening to think that we hear of mothers going without food because of benefit sanctions and UC delays, let alone the homeless, when supermarkets have so much food left over…

The other important aspect of Opendoors is our support in helping people do the kind of life admin skills most of us take for granted such as registering at a surgery or getting a bank account, as well as being supported to get on the homelessness register and bidding on the Homes4Wiltshire website. There is scope for a great deal more voluntary support at Opendoors, given the limited public funds available to pay council outreach workers. It is very rewarding and if anyone enjoys research and advice type roles we would like to hear from you!

Volunteering at Opendoors does make you realise what a blessing it is to have a roof over your head, the thing that gets to me most is thinking ‘I can go home now, cook, feed the cat, talk to my family, read or sit in the garden, what are they going to do with the rest of their day or night?

Catherine

 

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with us, please get in touch by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

How you can help us

Sarah and guest

What we do

breakfast1

Help and support us

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Venue Hire

Hall with tables

Need to contact us?  Email manager@devizesopendoors.org.uk to arrange to drop off donations or any other query. 

We will endeavour to respond as soon as possible.
Our office number is 01380 819909. 

The office is manned Monday-Thursday, but staff may be working off-site so calls won’t always be answered.

 

 

How to find us

Southbroom Centre is at the far end of Victoria Road. There are 2 routes to the Centre.

1. Walk or drive down Victoria Road to the flats around the grass circle, go around to the right of the flats and we are on the right before you get to the bungalows. Follow the sign posts.
2. Walk down London Road, past Morrisons, the Crammer and St. James' Church. Keep going out of town but before you cross the canal there is a bus stop on the left. Turn left there and walk along the path, leaving London Road behind you. You will see bungalows on your right and the back of flats straight ahead. When you get to Victoria Road go left around the corner and you'll see us on the left (not Southbroom House but the next entrance, Southbroom Centre).

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