Open Door’s history

Transforming young lives through better mental health for over 45 years.

In 1975 local clergy from Crouch End, Hornsey and Muswell Hill, in liaison with the Youth & Community Service of Haringey Council, began to investigate how they might provide advice and counselling for young people in the area. Similar centres were then operating elsewhere, in Brent, Camden, Hillingdon and Westminster. A small grant was given by Haringey Council and temporary premises allocated in a former local church. Under the leadership of Anthony Cantle, then one of the Council’s team of detached youth workers (and later a psychoanalyst), planning began towards the setting up of the Hornsey Young People’s Advisory & Counselling Service. The following year, on 5th April, 1976 and soon operating as a Registered Charity under the name of Open Door, the service began to help young people between the ages of 13 & 25.

With its reputation spreading and enquiries coming from all the London boroughs and beyond its main centre in Crouch End was extensively developed with satellite centres operating in both Holloway and Tottenham. Active fund raising, including a generous donation from the late John Paul Getty, enabled the then Board of Governors to acquire the Freehold of its Middle Lane premises and which have since continued to provide a welcoming space dedicated to improving the mental health and life chances of young people.

Nearly five decades on, Open Door continues to work tirelessly to improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young people in their transition through adolescence to adulthood. We are helping more young people than ever before and offering a wider range of therapies as well as therapeutic support to parents and carers and consultation to others working in the field of adolescent mental health. We also now deliver therapy services in secondary schools and since the Covid pandemic, we are also able to offer appointments online.