Christmas Day breakfast at Devizes Opendoor

This Is Wiltshire: Volunteers Jen Warren, Chris Sloane and Janet Tanner with ‘Trav’ about to tuck in to  breakfast  						                (PM950) By PAUL MORRIS Volunteers Jen Warren, Chris Sloane and Janet Tanner with ‘Trav’ about to tuck in to breakfast (PM950) By PAUL MORRIS

Devizes Opendoor will be providing breakfast on Christmas Day morning for the first time.

The charity decided to open its drop-in centre to enable homeless people who have nowhere to go to meet and have a meal.

Chairman Eddie Sims said the charity’s team of volunteers has been boosted by others wishing to lend a hand at Christmas.

He said: “We have had lots of extra people contact us asking if they could come and help at Christmas. We have been inundated with people wanting to help us – it’s really nice to have that support in the community.

“It is the first time we are opening on Christmas Day and our volunteers are just so pleased to offer their services. I would expect us to get a fair number of users on Christmas morning, maybe more than 20.

"A lot of them have got nowhere else to go to, they would see nobody on Christmas Day. It’s just really great to be able to offer some companionship and Christmas celebration of some kind. Users have told us it will be a sociable thing for them to come together on Christmas Day.”

Devizes Opendoor will be serving up Christmas lunch on Monday, while on Christmas morning breakfast will consist of a fry-up with some festive ingredients such as stuffing and Christmas pudding.

The drop-in centre is in St John’s Parish Rooms in Long Street and it opens three times a week, offering cooked meals as well as having access to specialist services such as health care and counselling.

It is for homeless, vulnerable and socially isolated adults whose difficulties can range from debt and mental health problems to substance abuse and poor life skills.

The charity is also celebrating after the Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of the Gazette & Herald’s owners, awarded it a grant of £2,000 for a new washing machine, dryer and materials for built-in shelving and storage.

Currently Devizes Opendoor has an ageing washing machine and inadequate drying facilities.

Mr Sims said: “The grant is excellent news. We have shower facilities, which provides an opportunity for users to get clean and tidy. If you are living in a tent in this weather it’s wet and horrible. Being able to wash and dry their clothes is a fantastic opportunity to freshen up their clothing. We have somebody who is living rough and they get tidied up at our centre to go on an IT course.”


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