One of the three charities we are supporting at the Cotswolds Salesforce Christmas Charity Fundraiser is Cheltenham Open Door. They are a local charity that do exactly what their name suggests. An open door for anyone who needs them. If someone needs company or support, they can simply walk in, 52 weeks a year.
Who do they help?
Their guests are people without access to the comforts most of us take for granted – housing, income, family, friends and health. They may be homeless, sleeping on a friend’s floor or vulnerably housed. Guests might have drug or alcohol addictions, mental health difficulties or be isolated from family.
Open Door is based on the principle that difficult things happen to people. They seek to ease difficult times with warmth, companionship and a place to belong. No questions are asked, and no referrals are needed – their door is open.
What do they do?
Open Door is based in the centre of Cheltenham and are open four days a week. There is tea, coffee, toast and cereal on tap with a two course lunch at midday. They have showers, laundry facilities and a clothes room. Guests can have breakfast, choose some clean clothes and toiletries, and have a shower while their laundry is on, then head down to a hot lunch.
They also give away food parcels tailored to each guest’s needs. On Sundays, they offer a cooked breakfast and a takeaway lunch. Four nights a week they go out in the evenings and offer sandwiches and drinks to those in the town centre.
At Christmas, they run a 24-hour shelter from St Luke’s church hall, offering four hot meals a day, including a full Christmas dinner. They have a hairdresser, a chiropodist, entertainment, a gift for every guest and overnight beds for those who need them.
Why is it so important?
One of their guests described it as being “like visiting the house of a friend. No one asks you probing questions. They say, hi! Make yourself a coffee and grab a shower: toiletries and clean towels are on the shelf. Help yourself to some clean clothes. Lunch is at 12!”
Staff and volunteers all come from a place of difficulty, they understand what it is like to struggle. This is why their guests feel so welcome, instead of judged or demeaned. They are guests, friends and family. Open Door provides a space where people can feel at home, a space that is constant and loving.
How can you help?
Open Door rely entirely on donations, which is why we are supporting them through our fundraiser. Their meals, food parcels, clean towels and toiletries and bills are paid for through donations. Guests are clothed because people bring them clothes. A tin of tuna or a pair of jeans can mean everything to their guests. By purchasing a ticket to our fundraiser, you can help change lives. Let’s help in every way we can. Thank you.