Nightstop North-East - a charity supporting homeless youngsters appeals for volunteers in Darlington

AN ORGANISATION offering emergency accommodation to homeless young people is appealing for volunteers as it expands to Darlington.

Nightstop North-East helps homeless under-25s to find a bed for the night by teaming them up with hosts in their local community.

The volunteer hosts play a vital part in the Nightstop scheme by offering up their homes to often vulnerable young people.

They are expected to offer a spare bed, food and the use of facilities for a night or two while staff work to find more suitable or permanent accommodation for the young person.

Drivers with clean licenses and their own vehicles are also being sought, to help transport the young person to their host’s home.

The Nightstop network - which helped more than 2,400 people last year – is seeing a rise in demand as factors like unemployment, increased rent and family problems leave an increasing number of young people with nowhere to turn.

Project worker Sarah Bell said the network played a vital role in ensuring the safety of young people.

She added: “If we can find more people to become volunteer hosts or drivers, it means we can help more young people and prevent them from sleeping rough.”

“We appreciate it’s a big commitment for people to allow a total stranger into their home for a night or two but many of our volunteers say it’s more than balanced out by the fact they’re doing something worthwhile and helping others less fortunate than themselves.”

Earlier this year, the scheme was praised by Prime Minister David Cameron, who presented volunteers and staff with a Big Society Award.

He said: “Nightstop North East provides an invaluable service, reaching out a helping hand to some of the region’s most vulnerable young people and getting them off the streets for good.”

To enquire about becoming a volunteer, contact Sarah on 078505 15204 or email sarah.bell@depauluk.org.

All volunteers receive out-of-pocket expenses, full training and support. No previous experience is needed.

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