National youth homelessness charity Depaul UK, have this week launched Nightstop Milton Keynes and are urgently looking for local volunteers to support the initiative.
Nightstop prevents young people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness from having to spend a night on the streets by placing them in the homes of volunteer hosts.
Megan Barnes, Senior Prevention Coordinator, Depaul UK in Milton Keynes, said: “Nightstop is a volunteer-led service, and without the kindness of our volunteers we would be unable to operate. This is why this National Volunteering Week we are calling on the wonderful people of Milton Keynes to join us in supporting the young people in our community. By becoming a Nightstop host, you can support someone at a time of crisis in a way that is safe and fits around your life and time commitments.”
All Nightstop hosts are vetted and given training and support to ensure that they, their families and the young person who stays with them are appropriately safeguarded.
Volunteers are in control of how often they would like to be available to host and have the flexibility to choose which days they would like to welcome someone into their home.
The primary reason why young people initially become homeless is due to a breakdown in family relationships. This is why, as well as the Nightstop service, Depaul UK runs its Reconnect service working with young people and their families to overcome conflict.
Ms Barnes added: “Not only does Nightstop provide respite and a warm bed for someone in crisis. It also allows us to refer them to our Reconnect service so that we can hopefully support them to safely return home, or at the very least to rebuild the support networks that will be vital to successful independent living.”
The launch of Nightstop Milton Keynes is the result of a partnership between Depaul, Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership.
Tracey McCillen, CEO, Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership (MKHP) said: “Depaul is part of the MKHP network of organisations who connect to prevent and end homelessness in Milton Keynes. We encourage and facilitate innovative ideas on how to end homelessness with a focus on prevention rather than cure. Nightstop is a tremendous opportunity for the people of MK to provide young people in our community, who are at risk of experiencing homelessness, with a safe and warm home at a time when they need it most.
“As a host you would really make a difference to a young person’s life and help them to get back on track. Welcoming them into your home will mean avoiding even one night on the streets. I hope the community spirit that MK is known for is shown again and we see people get behind this important initiative.”
Cllr Emily Darlington, Milton Keynes Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities, said: “We’re pleased to be working with partners on this new service which will provide a vital lifeline to young people facing homelessness. The Nightstop service is part of our ongoing efforts to prevent young people becoming homeless and getting them the specialist support they need.
“We want people to know that there is support like this available and nobody in MK needs to be on the streets. I look forward to working with partners to end rough sleeping in MK for good.”
Depaul UK – supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery – leads the national Nightstop Network, and directly runs six of the services in London, the North East & Cumbria, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire and now Milton Keynes.
The Nightstop Network comprises more than 30 services covering a geographical area from Glasgow to Guernsey.
To find out more about becoming a Nightstop host in Milton Keynes, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Depaul UK will also be hosting a number of online information sessions, click the below links to register:
– Wednesday 23 June, 6pm – 7pm: tinyurl.com/j4vr6cvf
– Thursday 8 July, 12pm – 1pm: tinyurl.com/7w99a5zp
– Monday 19 July, 6 – 7pm: tinyurl.com/45uc2mhm