Tackling homelessness in Devizes

Homelessness is an issue that affects communities across the country, with homelessness numbers increasing year on year.

For the past few years, Devizes OpenDoors has been working to support those affected in the local area by providing hot meals, cleaning facilities and much more.

Last year, we provided the charity with a grant from our 2020 Community Fund to help cover laundry costs. They couldn’t make full use of the grant due to coronavirus restrictions, but with things starting to return to normal the funding has begun making a real difference.

John Saunders, Chair of Devizes OpenDoors, tells us more.

What is Devizes OpenDoors?

Becoming homeless can be a very traumatic and destabilizing. The main causes of homelessness are damaged family relationships, financial difficulties, eviction and mental illness. All of these things make it very difficult to cope with the challenges of finding somewhere safe to stay and successfully moving on.

With more than 50 volunteers, we provide support to local people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, while also working with people who are marginalised and vulnerable.

Our regular services include preparing hot meals three times a week, providing showering and laundry facilities, and offering one-to-one support.

It’s during these types of activities where we can start to have conversations about arranging ongoing housing for those who are sleeping rough or sofa surfing.

The interest and support of our staff and volunteers makes a big difference to a person's confidence and so to their prospects of being able to take the next step towards sorting things out.

Open Doors Volunteers
Devizes OpenDoors volunteers.

The impact of Covid-19

In March 2020, we received a £1,500 grant from Wessex Water’s Community Fund to help cover the ongoing cost of laundry bills.

The beginning of the coronavirus pandemic shortly followed, and we had to reduce session door of the numbers and shut our showering facilities to ensure the safety of our volunteers and guests.

This caused our monthly laundry bill to drop considerably, which made it difficult to make full use of the grant.

Although, with the lifting of restrictions, the number of guests that attend has begun to increase, so Wessex Water’s funding will prove to be very helpful in the coming year!

How can you help?

If you know someone in the area who is homeless or are concerned about someone at risk of becoming homeless, call us on 07493 825258 and we may be able to help.

We also offer volunteering opportunities for people in the area who want to support their community. If you are interested, please email volunteers@devizesopendoors.org.uk.

You can find out more about what we do at http://www.devizesopendoors.org.uk/.