For the first time since the pandemic, in-person festive celebrations have been well underway at Opening Doors to mark the special occasion with friends, partners and our members.

During the last two years, it has been a challenging experience for many people to socialise with their loved ones during the festive season due to lockdown restrictions.

For LGBTQ+ people over 50, who are more likely to experience isolation and loneliness in general than the wider population, coming together during the winter months is even more important to supporting their wellbeing.

We are extremely fortunate at Opening Doors to work with some fantastic partners, who have supported us to deliver some exciting activities during the month of December to engage our members.

On Friday 2 December 2022, Hammerson kickstarted getting our members into the festive spirit by hosting a festive quiz and lunch at their London offices. Our members had their general knowledge put to their test as they worked in teams to come on top with the winning team walking away with £25 shopping vouchers.

We also worked with longstanding partner Aon, who delivered 50 hampers to our members in London and West Yorkshire. The hampers which contain a range of food items, have delighted our members, many of whom have expressed how it will be a huge help to them especially in light of the current living cost crisis.

On Thursday 15 December 2022, we held our first Christmas Concert in three years at St Saviour’s Chruch Hall, Pimlico. Sponsored by NBC Universal, the event drew over 120 people which included members, volunteers and partners. We were also joined by a set of talented performers including Opening Doors’ own choir, Mary Ward Singers, Don One, Rudi Douglas and Chris Smith who led the audience as they sang together classic Christmas renditions of ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ and ‘Jingle Bells’. The guests were also treated to plenty of mulled wine and mince pies with some lucky members being awarded raffle prizes as well.

Overall, it has been wonderful to commence get-togethers with our members in person once again and even more heart-warming to hear stories of how Opening Doors has positively impacted their lives.

We very much look forward to offering more exciting opportunities for our members in the New Year especially with LGBTQ+ History Month fast approaching.

Our Chair, Julia Shelley said: It has been wonderful to see so many of our members at these events and to be in contact with many others by phone or online. Thank you to our supporters, funders, volunteers and staff for making this all possible. Best wishes from all at Opening Doors for the New Year.