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OPENhouse enables young people and vulnerable individuals in the Stroud district and across Gloucestershire to discover their potential through building a community where they can live, relate, learn, work, get support and find their next step in life. This is achieved by providing housing, enhanced support, development and learning opportunities and links to volunteering and employment experiences. Through a strong community based model OPENhouse provides each individual with a tailor made, flexible programme that directly meets their specific needs.
OPENhouse was founded in 1978, under the name Shire Training Workshops. Although it has developed dramatically throughout these years it has always and continues to remain true, and developed in accordance, with our charitable vision, mission, values, and core principles.
To provide the support, opportunities and direction needed to enable vulnerable and disengaged individuals to discover their potential and move on with aspirations for a positive future.
To enable individuals to discover their potential through providing a safe environment where they can live, learn, and receive the support and guidance needed to find their next step in life.
This work is informed by a holistic grasp of personal, social, emotional and spiritual growth, an approach which respects the unique path of every person.
The early days … the first five years …
Shire Training Workshop Ltd (STW) was formally founded 17th December 1978. It was established by an initial group who were concerned for the future of school leavers who were “entering a world with poor employment opportunities”. The group included: a wood worker, a management consultant, a gardener, a builder, a child care officer and a teacher – all of whom pooled their resources. The first members of the Council were: Jan Beaumont; Thomas Bermingham; Helen Bermingham; Patrick Mansfield; George Perry; and, Helen Tank.
The first initiative of STW was a new centre where young people could “receive training in basic skills and social and life skills and help to find their way to a working life in a happy and positive way”.
This was followed swiftly by the launch of Starters Café at 57 High Street in February 1979. The aim of Starters being that the ‘real life’ café would provide a sense of purpose in work and restoring a sense of both self respect and social responsibility. In the true spirit of STW the young people were involved in the build as well as actually establishing and running the café.
We are always looking for resources and equipment for learners to use in the craft studios, for example; coloured glass, textiles, wool, plywood, pliers, and small saws. If you are in a position to donate any such materials or equipment then please contact us.
IT and Office equipment:
If you are updating or disposing of any IT or Office equipment then please let us know … we are very much into recycling at OPENhouse!
OPENhouse are always keen to work with volunteers who are willing to work with our young people in the workshops, music studio, on day trips, activities and events or simply doing some gardening for an hour a week. Whatever time you can spare is gratefully appreciated.
OPENhouse welcomes and provides Housing and Support to homeless young people aged 16-25 years who seek accommodation and support for independence in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
Access to our service is made by registration with Stroud District Council who meet weekly with Gloucestershire Youth Services, OPENhouse and others to consider applications via Stroud Youth Housing Allocation Meeting.
Residents have their own room and use of shared kitchens and bathroom facilities in a friendly, relaxed environment. Everyone has their own Key Worker who provides 1:1 support and guidance with Personalised Support Plans which all are required to engage with to develop their life skills and experience in education, training, creative learning, volunteering and work opportunities.
Individuals can access this service for up to two years during which time ‘move on’ plans linked to education/work/health and personal development will be considered and, where needed, connected to further external floating support or services.
The OPENhouse Enhanced Support Team (EST) began in 2002 as a transition service supporting young adults with complex needs to realise their personal independence and potential. This remit has not changed and our fundamental approaches have not either as they continue to be person-centred and informed by best practice and methods continually evolving from applied psychology and direct work experience of each client’s needs.
We are able to support most young adults with complex needs and have experience with attachment and personality disorders; autistic spectrum, specifically Asperger’s Syndrome HFA, SRL and PDA; mental health; learning disabilities and challenging and inappropriate behaviours.
Whilst all our clients are unique, many have social or emotional anxieties which compound their problems and prevent progression. We believe that internal security is essential for all individuals to have the confidence to grow, participate and enjoy life. This is why we place such emphasis on establishing good and strong engagement with our clients as it is from this position that we establish the trust, mutual respect, understanding and commitment from which to progress to work on specific areas of personal and life skills.
Engagement in education, training, volunteering or employment is also seen as a keystone for developing client’s confidence and skills. This provides structure, experience and achievement important to personal development and wellbeing. We see EST supporting this process in a similar way to scaffolding which, little by little, is reduced as the foundations and building grow in strength.
Integral to this is the overarching understanding of each client gained by our Specialist Practitioner from initial and continuous assessment providing an overview for clinical management and guidance of support and planned approaches. This management also facilitates liaison with other essential agencies and referral to statutory services if and when necessary.
A recent addition to EST’s service has been its Asperger’s Group. This was developed to provide a weekly forum to meet and facilitate social learning and confidence. Members share news, views, conversation and topics of interest. Most importantly they discuss troubles or worries which they problem solve together, often by offering each other peer support for actions to resolve issues. This has now proven a popular social event with clients and is now an important part of their weekly routine.
EST clients are individually funded by Social Care Support Packages, Personalised Budgets or Independent Payments.
Referrals can be made to Social Care for assessment by a Social Worker using a FACE assessment. This provides a personalised budget for support from an approved provider such as OPENhouse or through the Pro-Contract allocation system.
Independently funded support can be discussed by contacting OPENhouse directly.
The Creative Learning Centre
The Creative Learning Centre offers both accredited (up to Level 2) and unaccredited learning experiences to young people (from 14 years of age) through an ongoing programme of short courses and workshops.
Current opportunities include:
Sessions take place in non threatening, non judgemental learning environments with small group sizes so each learner can be assured of individual quality support from dedicated tutors. However, we provide one:one support for learners who may experience learning difficulties and require extra help. In addition to this support, OPENhouse have an in-house senior specialist practitioner who is highly experienced and qualified in working with young people who need support with more complex issues.
Activities and Events
OPENhouse endeavour to provide our learners with various opportunities to enhance their learning experience whilst with us. Recent events have included:
We work closely with local theatre company, Red Dog, and learners have enjoyed creating costumes and props for their productions, and helping with lighting and soundtrack production.
Visitors are always welcome, we encourage people to come and look around and book a taster session.
All the sessions are free to our learners and we even provide lunch and pay for your travel!
For more information and enrolment details please contact our Creative Learning Officer Jan Foreman.
Children's and Families Helpdesk
Tel: 01452 426868
Tel: 01452 426868
Independent housing information and advice
Tel: 0808 8004444
Citizens Advice Bureau
Independent advice on housing, debt, welfare benefits and other legal issues
Tel: 01452 527202
Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team
The Crisis Resolution Home and Treatment Teams (CRHTT) offer support and advice at times when you need an increased level of care.
Tel: 0800 1690398
ASTRA Alternative Solutions to Running Away
Support and advice for young people (up to the age of 18) who have run away or are
Tel 0800 389 thinking about it 4992
This is a scheme that offers emergency overnight accommodation in the homes of volunteer hosts for young single people aged between 16 and 25
Tel: 01452 331330
Advice and assistance to claim benefits for rent and council tax
Tel: 01452 396483
Advice and assistance to claim benefits for living costs
Tel: New Claims 0800 0556688
Existing Claims 0845 6088578
Gloucestershire Domestic Violence Support and Advocacy Project (GDVSAP)
Free confidential advice, support and information on domestic abuse, honour based violence, forced marriage, FGM and sexual exploitation
Tel: 01452 500115
Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service (GDASS)
Free and confidential service supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse
Tel: 08456 029035
Gloucestershire Youth Support Team
Provides support for young people aged 10 - 19 years old (up to 25 if you have learning difficulties or a disability)
Tel: 01453 763993
OPENhouse main offices and community hall are on the corner of Slad Road and Gloucester Street Stroud
Tel: 01453 759 400