How we started
Doorways was co foundered by Craig (a full time working fabricator) and Lisa Wheatley (a school cook) with friends Patrick and Tina Hall in May 2015 to help homeless rough sleepers (around 15) in Derby city centre, by providing service users with a hot meal, a sandwich pack and a hot drink.
This issue was brought to our attention after Lisa had helped another group within the city by cooking meals for them to give out to homeless people. We set up the group with friends and a few family members to help make sandwiches and distribute the items and went out three nights a week.
It soon became apparent that there was a bigger issue within the city of more vulnerable people than we had anticipated. People were coming to use our service from hostels, shared accommodation, people in their own property on low income and even people with no life skills to cook for themselves. Our numbers increased quite quickly and numbers went up to around 60 visitors by the end of 2015.
Four years on and with the help and backing of several businesses, who help by donating end of day food items. and having a Facebook group with over 8000 members the support has been overwhelming. We have a core group of volunteers who help with cooking and the running of Doorways on our nights out, we regularly see over 100 visitors on each of our nights out now and have recently become a non-profit making registered charity (1182774).
Our aim is to have access to a building which we can use to cook the meals, use for storage and have as a drop in centre for people to come to for information in our sector, this is alongside still having our pop up street kitchen 3 nights a week.
THEN COVID-19 HIT.
Since March 2020, our plans have been put on hold as we have been unable to run the street kitchen and keep within the government guidelines set regarding social distancing and large gatherings in public spaces. We have however still been able to continue helping vulnerable people/families by setting up a food bank and produce table from our home address. We set up a food produce table twice a week on a Tuesday and a Saturday, where people can come along and take what they need to put meals on the table.
We regularly see over 120 households each time we are open. In addition to this, we have delivered or had collected over 2000 food parcels to those in need.
Our aim is to continue to support people during the current crisis and adhere to our motto.
BE SOMEBODY THAT MAKES EVERYBODY FEEL LIKE A SOMEBODY