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Can you spare a room?

Posted on June 20 2008 at 4:35:25

A local charity is asking Village readers to consider using their spare bedrooms to help young people at risk of homelessness.

Nightstop provides beds in a family home for one night to vulnerable young people from Bromsgrove and Redditch.

The volunteer hosts provide bed, breakfast and an evening meal. If the young person needs a place to stay the following night, Nightstop will provide another bed and will also find them a place in safe long-term accommodation.

After that, staff offer support as the young person adapts to living independently.

One young man who was helped by Nightstop has talked of his experience. James came to the charity after a family dispute left him vulnerable and with no money.

“Nightstop provided me with accommodation via an elderly man named Tony,” James told The Village.

“He was a very understanding man who gave me plenty of time alone but provided me with meals and a bed, which was what I needed.

“He also showed interest in my ambitions and tried to encourage me as much as possible to pursue my dreams and never stop trying.

“I was put in touch with St Basil’s and now I’m living in a bedsit and continue to busk to pay for my shopping and occasional luxuries.

“If it wasn’t for Nightstop I would soon have been homeless and would probably have turned to crime to survive,” James added.

Nightstop receives support from the Big Lottery – in the form of a £460,000 grant last year – and other organisations, which pays for staffing and office costs, but the charity could not operate without the generosity of its volunteer hosts.

Spokeswoman Juliet Horne, who lives in Alvechurch, said: “The need for accommodation in the area is increasing and Nightstop desperately needs to find new hosts who are willing to open their homes to vulnerable young people.”

Nightstop’s project manager, Gill Groom, adds: “We know that the idea of welcoming strangers into your home is daunting, but our current hosts will tell you that in reality the experience of being a Nightstop host is overwhelmingly positive.

“We provide full training and support for hosts and we conduct detailed risk assessments to ensure that the young people are suitable for a placement in a family home,” Gill added.

Anyone who would like to talk to Gill or one of the current hosts can call Nightstop on 01527 66036.

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