What is happening in Open Door?

Two years on from celebrating the success of the Open Door project with a 20th Birthday Party, it is now time to build on the improvements that have taken place since then and re-vitalise the aims of Open Door. With that in mind the current volunteers met to share ideas and to review Open Door’s operation and outreach in the village.

Not sure that the ‘outreach’ word had been invented 20 years ago, but it is a much used word today, and Open Door was, for the Revd Peter Sutcliffe, founder of Open Door, his way of reaching out to parishioners who may benefit from sharing a social space and refreshments with others who may be in need of a little company. Methinks a ‘Place of Welcome’. In this regard the world has not changed!

Although Open Door was set up by St Mary’s as an ecumenical project recruiting volunteers only from our church and other Burley churches it has for some number of years opened this volunteering role to the community at large, whether they attend church or not!

What makes the Open Door volunteer an attractive role is the flexibility of the commitment available. The time you give can be, once a week, fortnightly, monthly or as a stand-in. Not only that, (apart from have the ability to welcome and provide visitors with refreshments) the volunteer can, as much as the visitor, have an enjoyable social experience as well!

At the recent meeting an amazing attendance of 34 volunteers out of a total of 47 (including stand-ins) gave the discussion more weight for a common understanding of the volunteer role and tasks involved. Also, a chance to meet up with other volunteers as this does not happen often.

A number of practical issues were discussed and solutions suggested to resolve these. Contributions from volunteers about outreach in the community was much appreciated. Becky Berry was also able to describe our recent membership of ‘Places of Welcome’ and directed follow up on their website. www.placesofwelcome.org.uk. Altogether a very useful get-together! With the recommendation that another meeting is set up to take place in January.

If you would like more information about becoming a volunteer or being a visitor to Open Door get in touch by telephoning the Parish Office on 01943 864405, 9-12 weekdays or calling into Open Door to test our welcoming skills! Mon –Fri (except Thurs) 10 -12 noon and 2 – 4pm.

Joyce Russell