Back to the beginning..
1985 The report ‘Faith in the City’ published by the Archbishop of Canterbury where the plight of 16 -25 year olds sleeping on the streets was described. They were sleeping rough because there was nowhere else for them to go – there was a shortage of emergency accommodation.
1987 Leeds Nightstop opened. It was a collaboration between Barnardo’s and the local people in the area. Here the Nightstop principle was laid down:
Nightstop meant emergency accommodation, one night at a time, in the homes of trained volunteers. Young people using Nightstop would be signposted to agencies to help them have their housing and support needs met.
1992 The BBC documentary programme ‘Panorama’ broadcast the story of Leeds Nightstop and called the programme Entertaining Angels. Interest was aroused across the country and many Nightstops were formed.
2001 Gloucester Nightstop was born! Gloucester Diocese Social Responsibility Team collected together a group of interested people – one of whom was Sheila Gardner, now a host to set up a Nightstop in the city.
2002 Gloucester Nightstop had moved to its new building in City Works, it was growing. The name changed from Gloucester to Gloucestershire to reflect this and the district councils supported us financially to deliver emergency accommodation. The number of volunteer hosts was growing and so was the demand from young people.
2004 There was an overnight event in the Cathedral called Inspire for young people. Nightstop were there giving a taster as to how it felt to be homeless, we even had the dog!!! Schools and youth clubs became aware of what Nightstop did and started to raise money for us. Local press and radio ran features over that Christmas about Nightstop and we began to get well known.
Since then Gloucestershire Nightstop have gone from strength to strength and we have moved to Spa Road. We now have 4 members of staff, sponsorship from the Big Lottery with many other local organisations sponsoring us. We work across the sector providing emergency accommodation with local hosts and a lot more. We have over 30 host families who are the heroes of the organisation, and a team of dedicated and talented trustees who steer the organisation forward.
And what about the future? It would be lovely to live in a world where Nightstop is not needed, but..
Gloucestershire Nightstop is affiliated with DePaul Nightstop UK who support us by sharing their expertise.
“Nightstop is a community response to a problem which is all too common in our community. This unique service is made possible by the generosity of inspirational people with a spare room and a desire to make a difference in a young person’s life.” Sir Trevor McDonald, President of Depaul UK