Five years ago, my second column highlighted the contribution of the Open Door Centre. It was printed on 26th Sept 2018 with the opening remarks:
"Nothing to eat and no money to buy food is the eventual nightmare. The most immediate thing is to find food, but more important in the long term is to find a way out of the crisis."
The nature of the need has not changed, except maybe it has grown. Five years ago the column continued …
"The Community Café is open to everyone, with a low cost menu to make it accessible to all. For those who aren’t in need of support, it’s a warm, friendly environment and a nice place to go to ‘give something back’. For those who find themselves in need of support, there is a team of volunteer support workers who will listen, advise and work out an action plan to help resolve the problem. They can also provide practical support including showers, laundry, clothing, and sleeping bags. Hot food, drinks and takeaway bags are also available to those working with the support team. There are telephones and computers to look for jobs or housing, or to make benefits applications or enquiries."
Guess what!! It is all still there as before. Currently Open Door is hoping to increase regular giving - choose "support us" on their website "www.opendoorexmouth.org.uk".
The Community Café is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from 9:30am to 3:00pm. Anyone and everyone is welcome to enjoy good quality food and drink at extremely competitive prices, with the same support described five years ago!
The new "Love Your Neighbour" scheme enables a drink, breakfast or lunch to be purchased in advance for someone who may need it.
The Craft Room, started in 2019, is a space to learn and share craft skills, and make friends on Tuesdays from 10am – 12.30pm. Skills include fabric printing, sewing, card making, lino printing, embroidery, wire work, crochet, drawing, felt decorations, paper decorations, needle felting, floristry decorations, collage art, appliqué fabric pictures.
The Haven Project works in Exmouth Community College, providing drop-in support every break and lunch time, with mentoring help for low self-esteem, anger management, unhealthy relationships, as well as helping the transition from primary to secondary school. Hot meals are provided in school holidays in the Community Café for young people where they or their families are in financial crisis.
The Men's Shed welcomes all men, giving an opportunity to engage in working on projects together, finding new friends, learning new skills and enjoying some friendly banter! It operates at Clayton House on the Salterton Road in Exmouth on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week, between 10am and 4pm and provides training and support in the safe use of tools and equipment, mainly wood working currently, with the chance of a game of pool. They are also keen to explore different interests, if anyone would lead other skills!
Parent Hub is a space for parents, carers and their children to come for coffee, cake, chat and play on Thursdays, 10:00am-12:30pm, at the Open Door Café. This "champions" parenting by providing encouragement, knowledge and resources, so families feel equipped to respond to the challenges they face.
Visitors are more than welcome; paying customers in the café help the support that is Open Door's primary purpose.
This could be a regular coffee or lunch spot - give it a try.