Nightstop, the emergency accommodation service for young people experiencing
homelessness, has made an urgent appeall for volunteers this Volunteers’ Week, to
ensure that its services can continue to run.
A shortage in volunteer hosts has resulted in a two-third drop in the amount of nights of safety Nightstop has been able to provide to people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets or in an unsafe place.
Nightstop provides same-night, emergency accommodation, placing young people experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness, in the homes of well trained and vetted volunteer hosts. Nightstop prevents young people from sleeping on the streets or putting themselves at risk of violence or abuse in return for a place to stay.
Despite the shortage of hosts, and further challenges presented by the Coronavirus crisis, 14 of 31 Nightstops across England, Scotland and Wales continue to be operational, including all Depaul-run Nightstops . To ensure that no more Nightstops are forced to cease operations and can be ready as lockdown measures begin to ease, the service will need to meet a severe
shortfall in volunteers.
Mark Robinson, Head of Prevention and Services at Depaul UK, said, “Throughout the country we have seen a surge in community spirit and people supporting each other. This is the spirit that Nightstop is built on and which we are now calling on to ensure we can continue to be a lifeline for young people who have nowhere else to go.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of Nightstop, and without them we simply are not able to operate. The demand for Nightstop will continue throughout the coronavirus crisis and will likely grow as we begin to come out of the lockdown. High levels of unemployment, record numbers of people accessing Universal Credit, and an incredible strain being placed on households and relationships will make our service an even more important lifeline for those increasingly at risk following the devastating effects of the coronavirus and lockdown measures.”
To minimise potential risk and spread of Covid-19, all young people accessing the service as well as hosts are being screened for coronavirus symptoms. Households are also being asked to provide a safe place for a week at a time, in order to minimise the movement of people.
Depaul UK – supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery – leads the national Nightstop Network, and directly runs five of the services in London, the North East & Cumbria, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Hertfordshire.
The Nightstop Network comprises 31 services covering a geographical area from Glasgow to Guernsey.
All Nightstop hosts are thoroughly vetted and given in-depth training and support to ensure that they, their families and the young person who stays with them are appropriately safeguarded.
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