York Rotary has had a very close relationship with the Door 84 Youth Centre, in Lowther St, for many years, and it was a delight to welcome their Executive Charity Manager, Heidi Haywood, as our speaker on August 7th.
Heidi has been with Door 84 since it opened its doors (in its current set-up) in 2011. Door 84 has gone from strength to strength due largely to her enthusiasm, ambition and drive. Heidi explained the vision and values of Door 84, with its focus on opportunity, development and equality in providing a stimulating environment for children and young people – not just in the immediate Groves area but for others from a wide area across Yorkshire who regularly visit their premises.
Safety and Fun are the other core values that underpin the wonderful work that Door 84 do – in a community hub that is almost unique in York. They provide Youth sessions and day trips throughout the year, together with community sessions that involve adults and families as well. All this is achieved through the support of volunteers and especially fundraisers, including our own Club.
Heidi described the impact that the COVID pandemic has had on their ability to deliver the services that so many young people and others rely on, and how they adapted to maintain a focus on fundraising, policies and the delivery of projects as far as they could. One key new project was their Food Bank, run in conjunction with the York Foodbank, which gave vital support to families in their area through weekly deliveries and pre-arranged collections.
Her personal commitment was obvious as Heidi explained her own fundraising programme – doing 840 minutes of exercise in 8+4 days – as part of their new Door 84 8-4-8-4 Challenge for families and others who support their work.
Door 84’s plans for the future, as lockdown eases and they are able to start-up more direct activities, include Activity Packs, Picnics, Youth Projects and Staff consultations, and the launch of an exciting new website. They are clearly going to meet the future with enthusiasm and we wish Heidi and all at Door 84 huge success in the vital contribution they make to the York community.