A REDDITCH charity has been given a quarter million pound life line to continue the priceless work they do with homeless youngsters in the town.
Redditch Nightstop have worked tirelessly to apply for funding since last year but have now been given £262,266 from The Big Lottery Fund to launch their Safe Accommodation and Support programme (SAS) and develop the service which helps 16 to 25-year-olds who have found themselves with no where to go.
The SAS Project provides emergency accommodation in the homes of volunteer hosts, a drop in service with access to advice and guidance, computers, phones and food. Another important aspect of the SAS project is providing young people with life skills via Lifewise, an accredited learning programme developing skills in key areas such as budgeting, managing debt, coping with stress alongside practical sessions such as cooking.
However this seemingly huge sum of cash will only fund the service’s core costs for the next three years and so the committee will continue to fund-raise in order to keep it running.
It costs them £25 a night to provide a youngster with emergency accommodation with one of their hosts. But the service still may need to provide mediation between families, clothes, shoes, food or even the simplest of household essentials, such as a toothbrush. They also help provide essential items and practical assistance to enable young people to access work or training. This could be bus fare, suitable clothing, CV printing, or ID, travel costs, or items to set up a new home if they get into permanent residence.
They also wish to work towards helping those in need before they are sleeping rough on the streets so they can have a planned move instead of a chaotic one.
Susan Saddler said: “We are thrilled. This funding will help us to run the service for the next 3 years. Homelessness will be an ongoing challenge. Our aim is to provide a safety net for vulnerable young people at the time of greatest need, protecting them from the dangers of rough sleeping”
Last year, 100 per cent of those accommodated by Redditch Nightstop moved on to safe long term accommodation, and all reported an improvement in their physical and mental health.
One 18-year-old who was helped by the service, and wished to remain anonymous, said: “If I hadn’t received the help I’d be dead or in jail now,” whilst another said: “If Nightstop didn’t exist I think I would be sleeping rough and I would be hungry. Probably the worst place ever.”