LAUNCH OF THE ODL RAINBOW MEMORY CAFÉ
ODL is about to launch a safe and friendly space for LGBT* people living with dementia and LGBT*carers of people with dementia to come together for peer support. The group will develop based on what members want, but will include time to share, tea and cake, information talks and some social activities. We hope to move to a gay venue or more informal environment in future but this first meeting will explore ideas. For more information and to register your interest please click here. We hope the group will start running in early October.

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Our first birthday party!
Friday 21st July Opening Doors London hosted a fantastic event at NBC Universal’s Skyline venue raising over £8000.

More than 150 of our supporters joined us to celebrate our first birthday and 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act. We also had performances from the Gay Men’s Dance Company and the Barberfellas and an auction with top prizes including an LBGT* tour for up to six people with Baroness Liz Barker around the Houses of Parliament, followed by a cup of tea in the HoP cafe.

The money raised will help us to continue supporting the older LGBT* community.

Following the event we received the following quotes:

“It was such a lovely evening. Looking around at all the joyful faces and seeing our members boogeying on down with such happiness!”

“Celebrating one year of Opening Doors London with the amazing team of volunteers and those who benefit from their service was amazing. The speeches and anecdotes were moving and the performances were fantastic!”

“The work that ODL do is invaluable. Older members of the LGBTQ+ community are some of the most vulnerable and in need of not just mental and physical support but also human to human connection and friendship. I think a nationwide service like that of ODL is definitely needed.”

Watch out for news of our second birthday next year!

We also had a Media Event prior to the party where a number of members were interviewed by the press:

“Not only was it an enjoyable evening but I felt it brought together young and old to celebrate the 50th anniversary, which in my view is so important to remember because of the horrific things that took place pre 1967 and in the years that followed. Thinking back, because I internalised everything and didn’t publicly show my sexuality, I was not a target of the legal system or social attitudes at the time but I knew people who were. Even now, I find it emotional to talk about those days and it’s only in recent years that I’ve been able to talk about them openly so I found the interviews very liberating. I certainly wouldn’t have felt able to do such interviews ten years ago, so for me, the event was not only a great celebration but also very useful.”

Press coverage included:
Gay Star News

The Gay UK

Thanks to all members who took part!

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Chat group for gay and bisexual men affected by prostate cancer

Prostate Cancer UK are the leading charity in the UK tackling prostate cancer through research, campaigning and providing information and support.

With support from Changing Doors London, Prostate Cancer UK will be trialling an online chat group for gay and bisexual men and MSM who have been affected by prostate cancer.

Ann Innes, Support Group Development Manager for Prostate Cancer UK explains:

“We know that people find a great deal of help and support in dealing with prostate cancer from being able to talk with others about shared experiences and problems. Although there are many prostate cancer support groups around the UK, we know that some gay and bisexual men may not feel comfortable about discussing some of their concerns or asking certain types of questions in these groups. There are a few great prostate cancer groups which are specifically aimed at gay and bisexual men and MSM but they may be too far away for some people to travel to. So we wanted to offer an alternative for people who would like to speak to others with similar experiences but who for whatever reason could not or do not want to utilise a face to face group.

We will be trialling a “virtual” group chat which will take place once a month. Participants can choose to join the chat using video via webcam or camera on their phone or tablet or they can just join by audio/phone if they prefer not to be seen on screen.

The group chats will be facilitated in the trial period by a facilitator provided by Opening Doors London.”

The groups will be starting in late September or early October. To register interest or ask for more information about the groups please contact Ann Innes by emailing ann.innes@prostatecanceruk.org

If you would like to know more about other groups for gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer you can find more information here:

Out With Prostate Cancer (Manchester/ Birmingham): https://www.outwithprostatecancer.org.uk/about_us

Metro Walnut (London):
https://www.metrocentreonline.org/advice-and-info/metro-walnut-prostate-cance-support/

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Farewells

David Mitchell
We are sad to announce that David has decided to retire as a trustee of ODL. He has been a stalwart of ODL since its beginning, as a member, a volunteer, an ambassador and for the past year as a trustee. He has spoken frequently and eloquently on behalf of ODL and has been tireless in his work for us. He was a founder member of the new board of trustees when we became a separate charity last year. His was always the voice of calm and reason, with a strong commitment to the community roots of ODL. He has now decided to ease off from some of his commitments. We all very much regret his leaving, but are delighted that he will continue as a member, and as a trustee of Age UK Camden and Ageing Better in Camden, with whom we still have very close links. Thank you David for all your services to ODL. You will be very much missed.

Kate Hancock
For the past five years or so Kate has been one of the most prominent faces of ODL, present at innumerable meetings across London, and bustling away in the office to build up ODL as one of our development officers. When she joined there were a handful of groups. Today more than forty ODL activities a month take place. Kate has played a major part in this massive expansion, most recently with the development of a stronger ODL presence in the City and in South London. Now she has decided to move on, and to seek new opportunities in Margate where she lives. We will miss her kindness and empathy, her huge range of contacts, the ease with which she speaks to and for our members, her close working with our volunteers, and her commitment to making life better for older LGBT* people. Thank you Kate and good luck for the future.

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Run a half marathon for ODL!

Want nut cracking thighs, to see central London like you’ve never seen before and to feel a warm fuzzy feeling that you’re helping a great charity? Then run in the Royal Parks Half Marathon for Opening Doors London (ODL)!

The charity, which supports older members of the LGBT community, has three places up for grabs in this fantastic event, which takes place on Sunday October 8.

The 13.1 mile race begins in Hyde Park, goes through Green Park and St James’ Park and finishes in Kensington Gardens. Along the way it takes in such iconic landmarks as the Houses of Parliament, the Strand, the church St Mary Trafalgar Square and through Admiralty Arch. It’s a stunning route and completely free of traffic. You can see a link to it here.
Runners are asked to raise a minimum of £1,000, including Gift Aid. ODL will support your all the way and help you fundraise with regular posts across our social media.

For more details contact Suzy Barber on suzy.barber@openingdoorslondon.org.uk