Do you have questions about:
The Nightstop service
The Volunteer Host role
The Volunteer Chaperone and Driver roles
Nightstop guests


The Nightstop service
What is Nightstop?

Nightstop began in 1987 to find a community response to the growing challenges of homelessness. That response was to find wonderful volunteers who were willing to let people in need of emergency accommodation stay in their spare bedrooms. Our staff then work with a range of partner organisations to offer long term solutions for Nightstop guests.

In the 30 years since Nightstop started we have grown to a network of more than 25 different services around the UK and are now working internationally, with a Nightstop service up and running in Canada.

Why are Nightstops run by different organisations?

Working with different organisations who run our program locally allows us to reach more people in need and use the support and knowledge which is already available. By working in partnership with established housing, youth development and homelessness charities we can provide a local response to a local need.

We provide continuous support and training to each local service and run a Quality Assessment every 2 years to make sure that Nightstops are providing a safe, sustainable and high quality service.

How does it work?

The Nightstop service is contacted about a guest either directly or through a partner agency. The Nightstop service conducts a background check and risk assessment, including 2 references.

If the guest is deemed low need then a trained volunteer host and chaperone/driver are given information about the guest and asked if they want to volunteer that evening.

If the answer is yes then the Nightstop service will talk to the guest about what they should expect from the host, Nightstop rules and how they will get there.

The guest is offered an evening meal, breakfast, a packed lunch for the next day, a shower and use of the washing machine.

The Nightstop service will contact the guest and host family that evening and in the morning to check that everything is ok.

The guest then leaves the next morning at an agreed time.

Where are you located?

Our Nightstop services currently cover much of the United Kingdom from Aberdeen to Guernsey and there’s also a Nightstop service in York, Canada. To find out where these services are and find out more about them, please see our Nightstop Network.

We’re also looking to develop the reach of our services. If you’re interested in setting up a Nightstop in your area, please get in touch.

How can I get involved?

Nightstop’s amazing volunteers and fundraisers help form the fantastic community of people working hard to prevent youth homelessness in the UK. Quite simply, without volunteers Nightstop would not exist.

Whether you’d like to become a host, a driver/chaperone or support us in another way then please get in touch.

What’s next for Nightstop?

We want a future where nobody has to sleep in an unsafe place. We’re planning to develop new services in areas where we don’t have already have a Nightstop, both internationally and in the UK.


The Volunteer Host role
Why do we need volunteer hosts?

The service relies on kind volunteers with a spare bedroom which they are willing to offer to a guest. Not only does the volunteer host provide the guest with a safe place to stay, a hot meal and the opportunity to wash, they also provide a listening ear to make the guest feel comfortable and secure. Get in touch to find out how you can become a host.

Is it safe?

Yes. We have a thorough referral process which enables us to place young people who are low risk and always ask for at least two references. We also tell hosts about the guest’s history.

Do I need to have had training or experience?

No, we provide a comprehensive recruitment process including training, home visits and DBS checks. Training covers an introduction to youth homelessness, boundaries, practical tips and safeguarding rules. And we’re always on hand for a supportive phone call.

How long will the guest stay?

All our volunteers sign up to a rota and choose which evenings they would like to host, on a completely flexible basis. There’s absolutely no pressure and you can do as much or as little as you choose. We’ll always ring you on the day to check if you’re still available and if you would like to host the guest which we’re describing.

What do I need to provide for the guest?

You’ll need to provide a bed, a shower, an evening meal, breakfast and a packed lunch, a washing machine and toiletries (which the Nightstop service will give you before hand). Also you’ll need to be in for the whole evening as guests can’t be left in the house alone. The young people may just want to relax in their room or may want to spend time with you in communal areas. Nightstop will reimburse you for all expenses incurred.

What does my home need to be like?

All our homes vary – as long as your home is clean, comfortable and has all relevant safety features such as working smoke alarms and a private spare room then it’s perfect.

What skills do I need?

You need to be kind, compassionate, non-judgmental, patient, reliable, willing to uphold boundaries and good at listening. Don’t worry, it may seem like a daunting experience taking on the host journey but our training will tell you everything you need to know. And we’re always available to support and develop our wonderful volunteer hosts.


The Volunteer Driver and Chaperone roles


Why do we need Chaperones and Drivers?

It can be a daunting experience visiting somebody’s house for the first time, especially if it’s in a different neighbourhood. Chaperones and Drivers not only help with the difficulties of getting to the host’s home but offer a reassuring presence when knocking on the host’s door. Get in touch to find out how you can become a chaperone or driver.

Do I need a car?

Not always. Drivers will pick up young people and drive them to the host’s home but Chaperones will meet the guest and travel with them on public transport.

What training will I get?

We provide comprehensive training with all you need to know about youth homelessness, safeguarding rules and tips to help you when meeting and travelling with the guest. We also run DBS checks for all Chaperones and Drivers.

What skills do I need?

You will be the first point of contact for a guest so you need to be reliable, non-judgmental and a good listener who is willing to be a reassuring presence. All our training will prepare you for taking on this role.


Nightstop guests
Who do you take?

To find out about the service in your area please go to our Nightstop Network. We assess guests to make sure that they are low need on a case by case basis, but always ask for at least two references. If we cannot offer a Nightstop placement we will give you information about other services which will offer help.

Can I come directly to you or do I have to be referred through a partner?

Some of our Nightstop services take guests who contact them directly whereas others take guests who have been referred through a partner such as a college, social services or another charity. To find out about the service in your area please find your nearest Nightstop service.

How will I be supported?

We will contact you to make sure that you’re comfortable with the arrangements for your placement. We let you know who you will be staying with, the process for getting there and what you can expect from the Nightstop service.

How long can I stay for?

Again this varies on a case by case basis, but usually guests use our service from between 3 days to 3 weeks. This may be with the same host or with different hosts.

What happens next?

The idea of Nightstop is that we provide emergency accommodation whilst supporting you to find longer term options. This may mean moving on to Supported Lodgings, moving back with your family or privately renting.

Do you help guests with other issues affecting them?

Yes, we work with a number of partners to offer guests the support they need. Our partners offer services such as working to build bridges between family members, offering mental health support and helping with training or education needs.

Can asylum seekers and refugees stay with Nightstop?

Yes, asylum seekers and refugees can stay with a Nightstop host and the process is similar to the way Nightstop works for any other guests. We often find that asylum seekers and refugees have limited options for accommodation due to their legal status and having no recourse to public funds. Staying with Nightstop for a period of time can be a positive short-term option, while the guest works with specialist agencies on their immigration status and their next steps.

What kind of support is available to help asylum seekers and refugees move on from Nightstop?

The next step for a guest that is an asylum seeker or refugee will depend on their legal status and the outcome of any applications for leave to remain. Supporting someone through the immigration process can be challenging, so guests requiring this support will be engaged with a specialist service that can provide this type of advice. If they are not already engaged with such a service, Nightstop will work with the guest to help them access this. Nightstop will also work with the guest to identify any other options for accommodation and a guest may stay with several hosts whilst working through the immigration process.