Youth homelessness charity Depaul UK is celebrating National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June 2022) by shining the spotlight on the vital work of Nightstop Volunteers who open their homes to young homeless people facing a night on the streets or sleeping in an unsafe place. Last year 400 people opened their homes to young people who have nowhere to stay and help change their lives.
Communities and charities run Nightstop services in more than 30 locations around the UK, led and supported by Depaul UK. In 2021, volunteers provided more than 6,000 safe nights of accommodation – these are nights where people who benefited from Nightstop’s support would have otherwise been forced to sleep on the street or in an unsafe place.
Claire, 63, has been volunteering with Nightstop since she retired last year. Claire has four grown up children and lives alone in the outskirts of Newcastle. Claire said:
“Over the years I've enjoyed having lots of my children’s friends come over. The young people from Nightstop were just the same as my children or any of their friends, but are just in a really vulnerable situation, and need a bit of help.
“I’ve shared my home with around 15 young people so far. One of my favourite memories was finding a note left for me by a young girl. She wrote about how much being able to stay the night meant to her and that she'll remember me for the rest of her life. I could tell she'd spent ages writing it in beautiful handwriting and that made it extra special.”
After becoming homeless as a teenager, Jordan, 20 is now looking forward to University and excited about the future. He said:
“I became homeless because me and my dad just didn’t have the best relationship, constantly fighting and arguing and it just got to the point where it wasn’t doing anything for my mental health. I was extremely nervous because it was going to a stranger’s house, so you don’t know what to expect. They were all really friendly. Nightstop has been such a massive help for me, and my mental health.”
If you would like to help young people to move on to safer, more stable accommodation please consider becoming a Nightstop volunteer. You can sign up for one night a month, for a week or even longer. The charity supports you every step of the way and makes sure all the relevant checks are in place so everyone is safe. Please visit the Depaul UK website for more information.