Nightstop Provides Safe Haven for Young People

Fri 19th January 2018

Today marks the official launch of the Simon Community’s Nightstop project, which the Foundation supported last season via our Big Ibrox Sleep Out events.

Spare rooms in people’s homes in Glasgow will now be made available to young people facing the prospect of sleeping rough on the street, thanks to this innovative scheme.

Four volunteer hosts have already been recruited, vetted and trained by the Simon Community and a further three volunteers are currently going through their training.

The service will involve young people being hosted for a maximum of three evenings over a three-week period, during which time they will receive intensive support from statutory and voluntary agencies in a bid to resolve the issues that led them to Nightstop in the first place.

It is widely recognised that the moment a young person begins sleeping rough, it can mark the beginning of a spiral of decline and danger, and Nightstop aims to stop that decline in its tracks.

Pauline Hannigan, Head of Nightstop and Volunteering at Simon Community Scotland commented:  “Often, young person become homeless through no fault of their own. Most young people who have come through Nightstop UK cite family or relationships breaking down as the main reason and, of these young people, over half say violence was involved.”

Volunteer Geraldine Feeley added:

“I was inspired by the ordinary people on a Channel 4 documentary who opened their homes to provide a safe place for a young person for a night. I hope that, in future, any young person that stays at my home will feel safe and welcome.”

The Simon Community Scotland aims to extend the Nightstop service and is keen to find more volunteer hosts in Glasgow.  The charity is hosting a recruitment event on 6 February, so if you are interested in getting involved you can find out more by attending the event at the Simon Community's Head Office at 472 Ballater Street, Gorbals, G50QW from 5-7pm, or by contacting Pauline Hannigan at the Simon Community on pauline.hannigan@simonscotland.org.  The Nightstop information evenings introduce the concept of Nightstop and the history of Nightstop UK and explore the key elements of volunteering with a particular focus on how to become a host for a young person. 

Lorraine McGrath, Chief Executive of Simon Community Scotland commented: “The launch of the Nightstop service sees us move positively towards early intervention in youth homelessness by providing a practical solution, with a long-standing legacy of success, having run in other UK cities for over 30 years.

“We are only able to reach this point of launch thanks to the generosity of the people of Glasgow who have shown their support for the service by volunteering to open up their homes and hearts to young people who need them at a point of crisis."  

Scottish Government Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart MSP, said: “I am delighted to see the establishment of a Nightstop service for young people in.  This service helps ensure more safe and warm places to stay for those young people at risk of rough sleeping. It is also a recognition that, for some people, including those who may have more complex needs, simply providing accommodation is not always enough and this is at the heart of Nightstop’s approach.”

Connal Cochrane, Director of the Rangers Charity Foundation added: “The launch of Nightstop is hugely exciting for the Rangers Charity Foundation, Simon Community Scotland and, indeed, the city of Glasgow, representing an important and innovative milestone in the battle to tackle homelessness in our city. 

“The Foundation was delighted to donate over £17,000 to the project, which helped to employ a full-time youth homelessness prevention and recruitment worker for the initiative.  

“The funds were raised by fans taking part in our Big Ibrox Sleep Out events, and I know those supporters are proud to see the fruits of that challenge having such a significant impact on vulnerable young people at risk of sleeping rough."

“We have also helped the Simon Community recruit a core group of vetted Nightstop volunteers, who are now trained and ready to welcome young people into their home.  

“I’m sure this service, which is the only project of its kind in the west of Scotland, will be a huge success, and we are delighted to continue to work with the Simon Community this season supporting another brand-new project, Street Cycles.” 

Tags: homelessness / Simon Community Scotland / Nightstop