Published: July 31, 2010
New scheme will tackle youth homelessness in Burnham area

Young people in the Burnham and Highbridge area will soon have a new service available to them if they need a roof over their heads in an emergency.

Called Nightstop, the scheme provides short term emergency accommodation for young people in the homes of volunteer hosts in the community.

It will be launched in the Burnham area on 11th August at Hope Baptist Church in Highbridge where a special exhibition will be held from 5.30pm – 8pm.

Liz Pardoe, Sedgemoor's Home Project Co-ordinator at the YMCA, told "Nightstop is a service where a young person, aged 16-25 years who is homeless, will be given a safe, supportive place to stay. The next day, our staff will assist them as they explore their housing options or support them to return to the family home."

"To be able to offer this invaluable service to young people, we need volunteer hosts. Sometimes all a young person needs is time and space to find solutions and start to rebuild relationships enabling a return home. There are also times when a return to the family home is not an option and other support and housing services may be needed. The reality Nightstop is trying to prevent is a young person finding themselves in a vulnerable situation or sleeping rough on the streets."

Sedgemoor District Council's Housing Advice Manager, Jerry Milton, added that the service is needed in the area. "Whilst the Council has been very successful in reducing homelessness over the past three years, youth homelessness remains a problem with over 50% of homeless applications coming from young people under the age of 25 and 20% of those are from 16 and 17 year olds."

"We are working with a range of agencies including Bridgwater YMCA and Somerset County Council to tackle youth homelessness and the Nightstop scheme, which has been very successful elsewhere in the country, provides an opportunity for members of the public to help young people in their communities."

For more information or an informal chat, contact Liz on 0771 2190165 or visit the information evening on 11th August.

Pictured are the team at Highbridge's YMCA centre in Wade House


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