The nominees for the 5th Annual Pink News Awards have been released and we’re proud to say, Opening Doors London have been nominated for Community Group of the Year.

The Pink News Awards are held on 18th October – it celebrates the contributions of politicians, businesses, campaigners and community groups to improving LGBT* life in the UK and beyond.

ODL changes the lives of older LGBT* people across the whole of London. Whether it’s singing for fun, creative writing, computer drop-in sessions or swinging round a partner at one of our tea dances, ODL is always reaching out to the community and providing regular social opportunities and support.

It is fantastic that Pink News has shortlisted ODL for this award.  It is great for the team and our many volunteers to get recognition for all the work they do supporting the older LGBT* community.   We are an organisation for and of the older LGBT* community. I’m proud to lead an organisation where everyone is so committed – and where members are so actively  involved.

Alice Wallace, Director of ODL.

 Opening Doors London provides a terrific range of activities for all interests but, more importantly, a community who really understand each other as LGBT* people. ODL has been a lifeline for me at a difficult time when the warmth of this community gave me wonderful support.

 Evelyn, ODL Member

You can vote for ODL here

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Opening Doors London are thrilled to be nominated for the European Diversity Awards for Charity of the year.

Since their launch six years ago, the European Diversity Awards have become the continent’s most prestigious and widely respected diversity event. Recognising individuals and organisations who have made an outstanding contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion across Europe.

The awards will be help on Thursday 16 November – wish us luck!

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Where there’s a will…
Writing a will is one of those things no one wants to do but is relieved once it’s done. Our Will Writing Workshop on October 20, 2pm-4pm will feature solicitors and even undertakers to de-mystify the process and help get the ball rolling. As well as talks and presentation, there will be a chance for you to chat to legal experts about what’s involved and how much it costs, which is usually no more than a couple of hundred pounds. Refreshments will be available for a small donation. No need to book, just turn up.

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The Arc of Triumph
Opening Doors will be starting its first group in Brixton!
The Arc of Triumph is a storytelling Group where you can, Embrace your story. Tell your story. Hear the stories from your communities. Dates, times and venue to be confirmed. If you wish to participate in the group or volunteer please email: shaun.wallace@openingdoorslondon.org.uk

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Members code of Conduct:
Over recent months we have been reviewing the Codes of Conduct for both staff and volunteers. We have now turned our attention to a Members Code of Conduct. It can be found here

We are keen to involve members in what it means and so would like to invite you to a workshop on 6th October from 10am to 12noon. Please contact us if you would be interested in attending. It will also be an opportunity to meet one of our new Trustees, Tony Jackson.

Being a member of ODL will mean that you agree to abide by the code.

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Safe To Be Me

Opening Doors London and Sally Knocker are pleased to share “Safe to Be Me”, an online resource for professionals.

Meeting the needs of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people using health and social care services. This resource pack for professionals will help  employers ensure awareness and practical implementation of an inclusive environment.

Download – Safe to be me_ A resource pack for professionals

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 Meet our Royal Parks Runners 

It is not long until our runners take on the  13.1 mile race through four of London’s Royal Parks. On Sunday 8 October the will  begin in Hyde Park, dash through Green Park, sprint through St James’ Park and cross the finish line in Kensington Gardens. Here is a little bit more about them…

Name: Matt Keogh

Age: 44

Where do you live?: Hackney, London

Have you run in anything before?: Yes –  everything from a sprint to the fridge to a marathon up a Swiss mountain.

Why are you fundraising for ODL?: I am running because I am thinking of those who come to terms with their identity at a later stage in life and really benefit from the support of a community that can provide warmth and friendship and shared understanding

Best thing about running?: Whether I do it solo or with friends, for relaxation or competition, to chill or push back the pain barrier, when happy or sad, in a city or on country lanes, it always makes me feel good.

I am looking forward to the post run beer almost as much as the run.

Visit Matt’s fundraising page

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Name: Michael Munk

Age: 27

Where do you live?: Dalston, London

Have you run in anything before?: I’ve run for the bus once or twice.

Why are you fundraising for ODL?: It’s important to support members of our community at all stages of their lives.

Best thing about running?: The meditative quality of exercising over a longer period.

I think we should all agree at the outset that anything under 2.5 hours is a wondrous achievement.

Visit Michael’s fundraising page

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Name: Jasper Morgan

Age: 24

Where do you live?: Maida Vale, London

Have you run in anything before?: The only race I’ve been in before was the Westminster 10km

Why are you fundraising for ODL?: The older LGBT community is often forgotten and as they were the pioneers of equal rights movements within the country to allow younger LGBT people like myself to live a more integrated lifestyle. I think the work ODL do is fantastic and very worthy cause.

Best thing about running?: I’ve always found running is a good way to have some me time for self-reflection whilst keeping fit. The best part of any run is finishing!

Visit Jasper’s fundraising page

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Name: Richard Hodson

Visit Richard’s fundraising page

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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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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