REDDITCH Nightstop – the emergency accommodation network for young people experiencing homelessness is making an urgent appeal for volunteer hosts and chaperones to help keep its services running.
During Volunteers’ Week, the vital service, which is run by Depaul UK, revealed it has experienced a two-thirds drop in bed-nights it can provide during the coronavirus crisis, because of a lack of volunteers.
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.
The network prevents young people from sleeping on the streets or putting themselves at risk of violence or abuse in return for a place to stay.
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 Nightstop is built upon and on which we are now call 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 is likely to grow as we start 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 services an even more important lifeline for those increasingly at risk of homelessness 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 to minimise the movement of people.
To volunteer for Redditch Nightstop visit https://www.redditchnightstop.co.uk/ or call 01527 66036.