Berkhamsted’s new community hub has a very open door

Volunteers Ceri Lindo, Felicity Beardshaw and Vernon Dewhurst want to welcome residents to the new community space
Volunteers Ceri Lindo, Felicity Beardshaw and Vernon Dewhurst want to welcome residents to the new community space

A new community hub and cafe is offering a new space for Berkhamsted residents to socialise – and take part in a host of activities.

The Open Door has been open for just over a month now, located near the Post Office in High Street.

The community hub is based on Berkhamsted High Street

The community hub is based on Berkhamsted High Street

And its name describes perfectly its purpose, anyone is welcome at any time.

Ceri Lindo, a volunteer who co-founded the venue alongside Joan Fisher, tells the Gazette: “The idea is that we have somewhere for the people in the community to come if they are lonely, isolated, or just want a chat and a bit of a social life.

“The volunteers we have aren’t trained, but we are ready and willing to talk!”

One of those volunteers is Felicity Beardshaw. She adds: “We need to spread awareness of this great place for the community.

The building can host a variety of community events

The building can host a variety of community events

“We have an open door policy. Anyone can come in, but people can also hire the place out for classes, including in arts and crafts.

“We have monthly children’s art workshops, drawing and felt workshops, but we also have room for physical classes such as Chi Kung and meditation.”

The venue is also another place for local and budding artists to show off their work.

The downstairs part of the venue acts as a pop-up exhibition to complement the Upstairs Gallery at the nearby post office.

Ceri said: “The downstairs is an art venue with a cafe, and we have exhibitions coming up from West Herts College and the Hospice of St Francis.”

Effectively, there’s not much the venue couldn’t play host to, and its flexibility will be important in a time and economy where community buildings are tending to shut down rather than start up.

Felicity Beardshaw said: “People just coming in and using it helps basically to keep it running, and any money raised goes towards the running costs.”

Ceri added: “We’re not charging people to use it at the moment. We want something that is useful for the whole community.

“We’ve only been open for three weeks, but there are small blessings every day. Last week a lady came in for a coffee and a chat, and an hour later she had offered to become a cleaner for us for free.

“Everyone who comes in loves the atmosphere.”

So why not pop along to The Open Door at 360-364 High Street?

Whether it is the monthly charity coffee morning or the upcoming pop-up vegan restaurant, there’s almost certainly something going on to discover.