Over 70 people enjoyed the warm summer evening at Lewes Open Door’s Celebration of Kindness on Thursday June 27th. The Right Reverend Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes, opened the event and spoke of the importance of the group’s work supporting homeless and vulnerable people in the town.
With music by local duo Edenwood, dancing from the Blackpowder Morris, food, and beer generously donated by Harvey’s, the event was an opportunity to find out about the proposed Winter Night Shelter and recruit volunteers to help with the project later this year.
More than thirty people expressed interest in volunteering on the night and nearly £300 was donated. There are also two essential roles still to fill so that the night shelter can run, the volunteer administrator and the supplies administrator.
Lewes Open Door was set up in October 2017 by local residents. Since then, public support for the group’s work has increased, with donation targets being exceeded and over thirty volunteers helping out. The Night Shelter will provide a safe and warm space during Winter 2019/20, initially for up to five homeless people, in accommodation provided by local churches, with a simple evening meal and breakfast.
Existing volunteers at Lewes Open Door have discovered that working with the charity can be a hugely positive and rewarding experience. One volunteer said, “I gave an old mobile of mine to one of the guests. He was so grateful, he even offered to give me money for it from his benefits. I felt humbled and of course did not accept.” Another admitted, “Before I volunteered, I was scared of talking to homeless people. But chatting with the guests has taught me so much and now I understand the difficulties they have.”
To find out about the benefits of volunteering and how to make a real difference to others’ lives, please make initial contact by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.lewesopendoor.org/