YMCA launches bid to help Bay's young homeless people

Torbay Weekly

South Devon's YMCA is joining a national campaign to help young homeless people.

The ‘Nightstop’ initiative, set up by DePaul UK in over 30 regions across the country, recruits and trains volunteers to offer emergency beds for young people who may find themselves without a home.

To become a volunteer host you just need a spare room and the passion to make a difference for young adults at a time when they are particularly vulnerable. Training, resources, and ongoing support are supplied by YMCA South Devon.
Pete Heckles, YMCA’s Nightstop Project Lead, said: ‘Once trained and DBS checked, volunteers will provide young people their own room, evening meal, shower and breakfast and most importantly a safe space and someone to talk to during what can be a traumatic time. The support the hosts provide is invaluable and can stop young people becoming street homeless.’
The YMCA is working in partnership with other agencies including Torbay Council, to ensure that while the young person is being kept safe with the host families, longer term solutions are being sought for them.

Maria Goodwin, CEO of YMCA South Devon said: ‘It has been a passion of mine for a long time to be able to provide this service."

Cllr Swithin Long, cabinet member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, Long said: "Last year Torbay Council Housing Options team and Children’s Services provided temporary accommodation for 133 young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who found themselves homeless. This accounted for 26 per cent of all people accommodated by Housing Options.

"There is a real need for such help so that these young people are supported so the right environment is provided within which to work together. This hopefully help build bridges and where appropriate, either assist those young people to return home or we can provide suitable move on plans."

YMCA says it will also be recruiting a variety of volunteers that can assist in other ways, so if you want to make a difference to young people, get in touch for an informal chat. Contact the YMCA, Dartmouth Road, Paignton, TQ4 6NX - www.ymcasouthdevon.org.uk