Not for Profit

Charity which saves young people from the streets seeks help

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 07 July 2020 7:10

Charity which saves young people from the streets seeks help

Last year a little-known charity called Gloucestershire Nightstopprovided a bed for a young person in need of shelter on the equivalent of 600 nights, but now it needs help of its own. 

Before lockdown the charity was quietly going about its business with its discreet directory of volunteers providing vital beds for the night for people aged between 16 and 25. 

Whatever the issues that pushed each person to the point of crisis also remains private, but the bed for a night, shower and perhaps a meal are all part of a safety net which stops them landing on the streets or worse. 

And then came the pandemic and lockdown and the ongoing concerns about health wiping out much of its stable of volunteers’ ability to help – what with many of them being of retirement age or older. 

Couple that with a changing of the guard at the charity pre-pandemic, plus concerns about a potential increase in demand as the lockdown loosens its grip, and Nightstop faces something of a perfect storm. 

“There are 30-odd Nightstops across the country. Some are organisation in their own right – some part of a wider group. They look to support and take referrals from local authorities and other agencies,” said Elaine Pearson-Scott, who joined the Gloucestershire charity at the start of the year to lead what was at the time expected to be a relatively straight forward transition to new management and leadership team. 

Ms Pearson-Scott is a graduate of the University of Central Lancashire and Goldsmiths University, London, a qualified social worker with a vast experience, and a former member of the board of trustees of the Children’s HIV Association, Cassandra Learning Centre and Currently Crossroads Care Central an East Gloucestershire. 

“We have had quite a stable period with a manager who had been here for eight years. Now we are also looking for a new chairperson to help with the governance and set strategy and to be one of the faces of the organisation alongside myself.

 

“We also need hosts and we need trustees to help guide and bring experience. We have someone who is a HR specialist, one who is an accountant, and that brings its own benefits. 

“They would commit to about 10 trustee meetings a year. If they get involved in a subgroup – like one concerned with policies and procedures – it might be more.” 

The charity – based at Morroway House, Gloucester – serves the whole county, but does most of its calls come from Gloucester, Cheltenham and Stroud and Forest of Dean. 

It has just four members of staff and before the pandemic had 28 volunteers on its books who provided those vital beds for the night. It is an address book it now needs to rapidly re-fill. 

But there is also a need for volunteer drivers to ferry those the charity seeks to support to their accommodation. 

Last year Nightstop has 126 referrals, looked after 88 individuals and provided 595 ‘bed night’.

To find out more email manager@glosns.uk or visit Nightstop.