Photo of the entrance to Open Door Exmouth
Photo of the entrance to Open Door Exmouth

A grant will help Open Door Exmouth extend current projects tackling local inequalities experienced by some of the town’s most vulnerable residents.

Open Door provides welcoming spaces and support across age groups, delivered at the heart of Exmouth.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Environmental Health team secured COVID grant funding in 2023, for pandemic recovery work. EDDC is using its remaining COMF grant to support Open Door Exmouth, who are facing a large rise in demand for their services since the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis.

On receiving the grant, Lisa Pike, Open Door Exmouth’s Chief Executive, said:

“Open Door Exmouth has been at the heart of Exmouth since 1995 and we are excited about plans for our 30th anniversary next year! Our projects evolve over the years to meet the growing needs of our community. Current projects are the Parent Hub, Community Café, Community Craft Room, Haven, ‘Toast’ Youth Café and Men’s Shed.”

“We saw first-hand that health inequalities increased, and mental health deteriorated as a result of pandemic lockdowns and cost of living crisis. For example, there were over 11,000 visits to the Community Café in the last 12 months, serving over 6,000 meals including 1,500 hot meals given free to homeless people and to individuals and families in financial crisis. This is three times higher than the previous year.”

“We are now expanding our Café to include Saturday mornings with a once-a-month pop-up while we recruit and train more volunteers to take on various roles in four teams. We’re enjoying upgrading our Café furniture, which must be robust to cope with all age-ranges and be flexible for our multi-use space.”

Helen Wharam, EDDC's Public Health Officer, said:

“Our health directly influences our quality of life and that of our families and communities around us. We know that more people are struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent cost-of-living crisis.

“We are delighted to support Open Door Exmouth with a grant to help them tackle health inequalities as they extend timely and much-needed support to some of our most vulnerable residents. Our grant will contribute towards Open Door Exmouth’s schemes such as extending their Community Café opening on Saturdays and helping to furnish the Café, towards Parent Hub running costs, and towards Community Craft Room running costs.”

“We are very grateful to all the many local voluntary and community groups, charities and social enterprise organisations working hard to help our communities.”

EDDC has recently published its new Public Health Strategy. The aim of the strategy is to support healthy people, living healthy lives, in healthy places. EDDC work across East Devon, focusing on where there is greatest need. Priority areas include the cost-of-living crisis, mental health, homelessness, loneliness, and isolation. EDDC recognises that it cannot achieve all its aspirations on its own and is working proactively with partners across the district.