- 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 33 different locations 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 prviding a safe, sustainable and high quality service.
How does it work?
- The Nightstop is contacted about a guest either directly or through a partner agency.
- The Nightstop conducts a background check and risk assessment, including 2 references.
- If the guest is deemed low risk then a trained volunteer host and chaperone/driver, who have confirmed their availability, are given information about the guest and asked if they want to volunteer that evening.
- If the answer is yes then the Nightstop 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, 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 having had breakfast and with a packed lunch.
Where are you located?
Our 33 Nightstop services currently cover 45% of the United Kingdom from Edinburgh to Guernsey and we have recently started a Nightstop in 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 to cover 70% of the UK by 2020. 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.
What’s next for Nightstop?
To keep up with our recent news click here.
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 choose 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 judgemental, 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 Chaperone & Driver 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.
You will be the first point of contact for a guest so you need to be reliable, non-judgemental and good listener who is willing to be a reassuring presence. All our training will prepare you for taking on this role.
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 risk 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 go to our Nightstop Network.
How will I be supported?
If you have been assessed as a low risk guest we will contact you to make sure that you’re comfortable with the arrangements. 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.