Colne Open Door Centre Ltd

The Centre provides a safe, nurturing and friendly environment for individuals experiencing a vulnerable time in their lives.  Customers can enjoy quality low-cost nutritious food and can take the opportunity to make new friends.

Our main aims and objectives are to provide:

  • A drop-in service offering support, help, guidance, coaching and sign-posting to meet the needs of the poor and those marginalized by society with a view to improving their quality of life;
  • Free meal and food parcels for those who are in poverty.
  • A community café/meeting place, which can be used by everyone, serving cheap, home-made nutritious meals which provides a non-threatening, non-judgmental  environment in which we can achieve our stated objectives;
  • Free internet access for everyone to assist in the search for employment and provide the opportunity for social interaction;
  • A non-threatening venue to accommodate training, counseling, mediation and other activities beneficial to our community.

We also aim to:

  • Improve community cohesion;
  • Encourage local community groups, statutory organizations, voluntary organizations, local people, and marginalized people to use our café to improve community cohesion and relieve isolation;
  • Enhance employment opportunities through the provision of volunteering, training, work experience and community service.



Achievements of the Rank funded project

Of the 3,000 cases recorded at our drop-in Centre:

  • 1,317 (43%) were claiming Incapacity Benefit or Employment Support Allowance
  • 872 (29%) were claiming Jobseekers Allowance
  • 500 (16%) were receiving no money or benefit and were in a state of poverty.

Over the past 12 months our drop-in service has been accessed on over 3,000 occasions of which.

  • 388 (12%) suffered from mental health problems
  • 1,025 (34%) had present alcohol and drug issues
  • 345 (11%) had learning disabilities
  • 106 (3%) had physical disabilities
  • 486 (16%) were on probation or ex offenders.
  • 125 (4%) were of ‘no fixed abode’

Our outcomes were:

  • 2,820 clients who came to us with their issues had them totally resolved.
  • 743 clients said that their stress/anxiety levels had been greatly reduced following assistance provided by the Centre.
  • 150 clients (excluding those receiving food parcels and free meal) were spared from poverty/desperate money situations following our intervention.
  • 218 clients had improved access to benefits.
  • 137 clients had their Utility issues resolved.
  • 124 clients improved their chances of gaining employment following our support; issuing references, help with CV`s & job application forms, signposting to training etc.
  • 85 clients were prevented from debt or had their debts sorted out
  • 64 clients had problems with bailiffs resolved.
  • 68 clients had their housing situation resolved including; problems with landlords, housing benefits, rent arrears, poor housing conditions etc.
  • 38 clients were housed or prevented from being homeless
  • We helped prevent 7 people from having their homes being repossessed.
  • 65 people had their health and wellbeing greatly improved including mental health, physical wellbeing and potential self harm.
  • 10 clients gained employment (that we know) because of our references/volunteering opportunities/ CV writing etc.

We had over 200 referrals from statutory and voluntary organisations including Calico Floating Support (Supported Housing), Housing Needs, Child and Parenting Services, Revolution (work with offenders), mental health services, Princes Trust, Social Services, drug and alcohol services, and Pendle Domestic Violence Initiative.

Achievements of the Rank funded project Continued...

Helping Ex Offenders

Many of those who access our services have committed some kind of crime;

  • Our services have been accessed 486 times by 70 individual ex-offenders

Prevention of Food Poverty

There are a number of reasons for the increase in people using our food parcel service:

  • Benefit sanctions (people on Job Seekers Allowance not fulfilling their contract with the Job Centre) we have seen some of these sanctions lasting up to 3 months.  To help support these people we work in conjunction with other local food banks who can deliver food over a month and other Agencies to help them over this difficult period.
  • Lower income – a high proportion of people who were on Incapacity Benefit (the old system) have been changed over to Employment Support Allowance or Jobseekers Allowance which is significantly lower than the old Incapacity Benefit.  Some people are struggling to cope with this change – we provide the help and support to tighten their budgets to overcome the lower income.
  • Other reasons include having big bills to pay, person may be in debt, or they are in between benefits and are not receiving anything at the moment.

We provided:

  • 1,246 clients (homeless, benefits stopped etc) with a free meal.
  • 738 clients (homeless or in extreme financial difficulties) with a free food parcel.
  • Of the 738 clients we gave food parcels to 440 were families in poverty.


  1. This year we have had a total of 31 volunteers working at the Centre:
    • 6 had some kind of learning disability
    • 2 had mental health problems
    • 9 were long-term unemployed
    • 3 had special needs
    • 6 were young people
    • 3 were pensioners
    • 2 had physical disabilities

A total of 4 volunteers found paid employment after volunteering for us.

4 of our volunteers have benefited from our life skills classes:

  1. Confidence Building Classes – 3 volunteers
  2. Manage your Emotions – 1 volunteer

(11 of our volunteers have been with us for over 5 years – these volunteers are pensioners or people with learning disabilities & special needs).

  1. We were able to facilitate free training to help 15 volunteers gain a recognised qualification:
    • 3 volunteers – Level 2 Diploma in Hospitality and Services
    • 2 volunteers – Substance Misuse Level 1
    • 3 volunteers – Customer Service and Employability Skills Level 2
    • 6 volunteers – Food Hygiene Level 2 and Nutrition Level 1
    • 1 volunteer   – Cleaning Principles and COSSH Level 2
  1. We provided placements for 6 young people between the ages of 14 – 25 for work experience.  These young people were from schools, colleges and work programmes.
  1. Over the past 12 months our volunteer workforce has
    • Provided us with 7,600 hours of unpaid work.  (We provided 1,430 meals to those volunteers over the past year).
    • Helped us deliver over 5,275 low cost healthy meals to our customers


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Counselling and Training


The service we provide is not time limited so clients can have the time and luxury of working through their issues at their own pace.  Most of our counsellors have now qualified and still work at the Centre.

Our counselling service has become so demanding we have refurbished another one of our offices into another counselling room to cope with the high influx of clients.  We have also extended our counselling ours to Saturday mornings and Monday evenings to help those who work.

  • At present we have 19 counsellors on our books and we are looking to take on 4 more trainee counsellors in April 2014.
  • We have a total of 120 referrals from other agencies, including Mental Health Services, local GP’s, Nurses, Children’s Centres, Probation, Schools, Social Workers etc.
  • Our counsellors have provided us with over 1,000 counselling hours to over 70 people over the 12 month period.


During 2013/2014 we have facilitated over 304 training sessions, had over 2,200 attendances and provided a total of 4,350 hours of training.  500 individual people have benefited from our training and support groups.  280 individuals were referred by statutory and voluntary organisations including Jobcentre Plus, Pendle House (mental health services), Inspire (drug and alcohol services), GP’s, probation service, Pendle Domestic Violence Initiative, Children and Parenting Services and Social Services.

This year we set up a Service Level Agreement with Accrington and Rossendale College to provide Level 1 & Level 2 Academic courses.  They pay for the hire of our training room so we gain revenue from this training provider.  We have been doing this for the last 7 months and already we have had 172 people gain a recognised qualification.

We have refurbished another room for training purposes to accommodate increased demand in training courses.  We can now facilitate 2 courses at the same time.

We arranged our English classes (Entry Level and Level 1 & 2) with our other training provider WEA (Workers Educational Association).  These also pay for the hire of our training room so we gain revenue from this source also.

  • 16 individuals gained a qualification in English (Entry Level – for those with some kind of learning disability)
  • 17 individuals gained a qualification in English Level 1 & 2
  • 9 individuals gained a qualification in Customer Service and Employability Skills Level 2
  • 32 individuals gained a qualification in Mental Health Awareness Level 1
  • 14 individuals gained a qualification in Substance Misuse Level 1
  • 8 individuals gained a qualification in Adult Social Care Level 1, Biohazards Level 1, First Aid Level 2, Introduction to Facilities Industry Level 1, Team Leading Principles Level 2, COSSH Level 2, and Manual Handling Level 2. All these qualifications were completed by 8 people to give them a better chance of employment working within the Adult Social Care setting.
  • 24 individuals gained a qualification in Cleaning Principles & COSSH Level 2.
  • 24 individuals gained a qualification in Food Hygiene Level 2.
  • 11 individuals gained a qualification in Nutrition Level 1
  • 13 individuals gained a qualification in an Introduction to Counselling Course.
  • 11 individuals gained a qualification in Retail Knowledge Level 1.
  • 11 individuals gained a qualification in Health & Social Care level 1

Increasing Employment Prospects for the Unemployed:

One of our main aims is to help people back into work, especially for those who have no computer skills.  We want to give the disadvantaged an advantage by offering help and support looking for work and using computers.

  • 60 individuals attended our free Basic Computer Lessons (we facilitated 8 x 3 week sessions).
  • 95 individuals attended our Job Club – we facilitated 48 x 2 hour sessions. This service is run by 2 volunteers who help job seekers with job searches, CV writing, interview techniques, accompanying letters, E-mailing CV’s to employers etc.
  • 150 people were helped on a one to one basis who cannot read or write, struggle using computers or have learning disabilities, to develop a CV, apply for jobs etc.
  • We helped over 60 people produce a good CV.


Providing a non-threatening venue to accommodate Self Help and Support Groups

Our Manage Your Emotions (Anger Management) has proved really popular and we have had over 60 referrals from agencies including Probation, Family Centres, Social Services, Mental Health Services etc.  We are the only provider in the area to facilitate this kind of course we have therefore had referrals from other areas.

  • 44 people benefited from Confidence Building classes – We facilitated 5 x 10 week courses.
  • 80 people have benefited Manage Your Emotions (Anger Management). We facilitated    7 x 5 week courses
  • 41 individuals attended our Mental Health Support groups – to date we have facilitated

45 x 2 hour sessions.  These sessions contain talk therapy helping people to cope with everyday stresses and anxieties.  They also help to manage depression and other mental health problems.  This group is peer led.

  • We have facilitated a transgender group for most of the year which has been attended by an average of 5 people per week.