New film being launched to raise awareness of Simon Community Scotland’s Nightstop Service

A powerful new film about a homeless teenage girl is being launched this week (Wednesday, January 8) at St Mungo’s Academy in Glasgow to raise awareness of Simon Community Scotland’s Nightstop project.

The film, produced by Simon Community Scotland, which works to combat the causes and effects of homelessness, features a teenage girl frightened and alone on the streets at night.

But the hard-hitting film explains ‘It Doesn’t Need to Be Like This’ and offers the young woman a safe place to stay with a Nightstop volunteer host.

It will be shown to fifth and sixth year pupils at EVERY secondary school and students at colleges and universities in Glasgow from January 8.

Simon Community Scotland launched the first stage of their Nightstop campaign – to recruit more volunteer hosts for the service – in October last year with the backing of Deacon Blue star Lorraine McIntosh.

Lorraine revealed for the first time that she had experienced homelessness at the age of 18 when her family lost their home overnight, and the experience has stayed with her for more than 35 years.

Nightstop Glasgow

▶️ Watch | If you are a Glasgow-based 16-25 year-old and you are concerned about having somewhere safe to sleep then we can help. This is our powerful, new Nightstop UK campaign film. It is to be shown to every S5 & S6 pupil across the city, in partnership with Glasgow City Council.

Gepostet von Simon Community Scotland am Montag, 6. Januar 2020

She threw herself behind the Nightstop campaign and asked the people of Glasgow to ‘open their homes and their hearts’ and they did not disappoint.

The charity was overwhelmed with the magnificent response which resulted in nine households signing up and going through training to become hosts. This means they will soon have 18 households in Glasgow who will be able to host young people.

Simon Community Chief Executive Lorraine McGrath, said: “Since we launched in 2018, we have provided 100 safe bed nights of accommodation to young people in crisis, but after this awareness campaign we expect this to rise.

“We were delighted with the response to the first stage of our campaign, and that we’ve had so many people signing up to become volunteers.

“This means that we will be able to help more young people across the city as they need us, keeping them safe and away from ever needing to contemplate a dangerous night on the streets.”

“The cycle of homelessness creates unprecedented risk and danger, for young people those dangers are multiplied across the broad themes of: physical and mental health; drug and alcohol addiction; introduction to criminal activity and/or prostitution. Even one night of sleeping rough can lead to initial exposure to these dangers.

“Offering vulnerable young people a safe, calm place to stay can make all the difference to help them achieve positive outcomes in the future.”

The roll-out of this film has been made possible thanks to help from Glasgow City Council which provides assistance to homeless people, including young people in the city and also commissions the Simon Community to provide a Street Team which works with daily with rough sleepers

Councillor Chris Cunningham, education, skills & early years convener from Glasgow City Council, said: “The council assists people at risk of homelessness in the city, including young people and we are happy to help promote a supplementary service which complements and enhances the work of the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership (GHSCP).

“Young people can feel very vulnerable and alone in certain circumstances and need to know and be reassured that there’s help, support and information available from a range of services to help them through a crisis.

“The film will be showed to all senior pupils in Glasgow schools and resonate with anyone that’s in need of assistance now and in the future – our most vulnerable young people are not alone and by working together in partnership with the Simon Community we can offer support to everyone who needs it.”

The service places young people aged 16 to 25 in a safe and warm home for the night, provided by a vetted and approved volunteer, to prevent them becoming homeless.  

Hosts offer a private bedroom, a hot meal, and shower. A range of toiletries and other essentials are also provided by Simon Community Scotland.

Nightstop is designed to prevent young people from sleeping rough, “sofa surfing”, or staying in unsuitable accommodation where they could be at risk, or even end up on the streets.

A young person can stay for one or two nights – or up to three weeks – depending on their circumstances and not necessarily with the same host. During this time the Nightstop team will provide wraparound support where necessary, led and informed by the young person.

Each host is extensively trained, has ongoing support, and there is a very significant safeguarding process in place.

Practical way to support

Nightstop: A Practical Way to Support

Our final story as part of our campaign to welcome new Nightstop hosts introduces Ian Hamilton and Claire Philip who joined the programme at the start of this year. They had been moved by experiences in London and Glasgow, and wanted to do something which was a practical way to support. 

Ian Hamilton (35) and Claire Philip (37), both lecturers in Glasgow, became hosts at the beginning of this year after Claire saw an advert for hosts at her workplace in November last year.

On a subsequent visit to London on New Year’s Day they were shocked to see the amount of people sleeping on the streets, and this spurred them on to do something practical way to support people who are threatened with becoming homeless.

The couple, who live in Maryhill, Glasgow, attended an information evening about the project and watched a documentary called “Would You Take In a Stranger?” on Channel 4 about Nightstop in Newcastle to find out more.

Ian, a sport and fitness lecturer at City of Glasgow College, and Claire an ESOL lecturer at Kelvin College, had recently bought their first house after living abroad for a few years.

As they have no children, they had a spare bedroom and wondered how to put it to good use.

Ian said: “We were upset to see so much homelessness in London and we just started thinking about what we could do to help.

“The more documentaries we watched we realised how widespread this problem is across the UK’s cities and we decided to find out more about becoming hosts for Nightstop.

“We couldn’t invite random people off the streets to use our spare room so Nightstop was the perfect solution for us.

“They try to prevent the problem of homelessness rather than just provide a sticking plaster.”

Nightstop provides support, training and advice to hosts and they carry out a number of checks on potential service users to decide whether they are suitable for the project.

In addition, Nightstop checks the availability of hosts each month and the days are marked on a calendar from available (green) to some availability (amber) and not available (red).

Nightstop also makes sure that service users get adequate support and access to other services they may need.

Service users can have dinner and breakfast with their host if they want to, but it’s left up to them to choose.

Ian and Claire were hosts for the first time in June this year to a young man who stayed with them twice for two nights.

Ian said: “He was very grateful and a bit overwhelmed in a positive way.

“He couldn’t believe there were people out there who care and who would give up their spare room to someone.

“He wanted to learn to cook and we showed him how to make a few different things for dinner.

“Our guest also wanted to tidy up and offered to take our dog for a walk which was very nice.

“Hosts are encouraged to allow their guest to choose whether they want to spend the evening with them, study, or have time alone in their room.

“Basically, it’s up to them how much time they spend with their host.”

https://twitter.com/SimonCommScot/status/1184513141008424960

The young person leaves the house with the host in the morning and arrives in the evening at a time that fits in with the host’s schedule.

Nightstop triggers a variety of support and services for users and the charity strives to find long-term accommodation for them.

Ian added: “Nightstop is very supportive with excellent communication.

“They pass on any information that we may need to know about our guest before they come to stay.

“They also check in with you when a service user has settled in to make sure everything is going well.

“We’ve never heard of anyone having any issues and service users are just very grateful to have somewhere safe and comfortable to stay.”

Deacon Blue singer Lorraine McIntosh is to host a no-obligation Nightstop Information Evening for people who are interested in finding out more about becoming a Nightstop host. It will take place this Thursday (24 October 2019). If you would like to attend please register via simonscotland.org/nightstopvolunteer

Natalie's story about Nightstop

We Had a Shared Bathroom and There was Always Needles In It: Natalie Shares Her Story

The latest story in our series to profile just how much we need to recruit new Nightstop community hosts comes from Natalie* who spent seven years without a place to call home. Could you open your home and heart to a vulnerable young person. 

Natalie* (22), was homeless for nearly seven years when she found out about Nightstop after she phoned the homelessness charity Shelter for advice.

Shelter referred her to us and we told her about our Nightstop service and she was accepted on to the programme.

Natalie became homeless when she was 15 after she left home because her relationship with her dad had broken down and her mum had passed away.

She had spent years of sleeping on friends’ sofas, staying at young people’s residential units, supported accommodation, B&B’s and hostels and even sometimes on the street, before she used our Nightstop service.

Now Natalie is studying for an HNC in Law at Motherwell College, she applied for the course with assistance from the Mungo Foundation.

After nearly seven years of waiting in Glasgow, Natalie was offered a house in Motherwell this March within a month of applying.

This was thanks to a lecturer who suggested that she should apply for a home in North Lanarkshire.

Natalie used the Nightstop service for 40 days over a few months in January to February this year.

She had a variety of hosts but she mainly stayed at two people’s homes because they had the most availability.

Natalie said: “The hosts were all really lovely, I spent more time with some than others, but I think there were only two hosts that I didn’t get to know very well.

“Even then, they were still great, very accommodating.

“The ones I stayed with for longer made me feel like I was at home, which was really nice.

“I think it just comes down to the safety, you do feel a lot safer in the accommodation that Nightstop provides.

https://twitter.com/SimonCommScot/status/1182632063809310722

“The council laughed at me when I brought up the issue of a broken lock on my door when I was previously in a B&B, but I just didn’t feel safe.

“I was living with heroin addicts and we had a shared bathroom and there was always needles in it.

“It got to the stage when I just thought I can’t stay here any longer.

“By the time I heard about Nightstop I was just so fed up.

“I wondered how much longer I’d be homeless for.

“I knew I wouldn’t get a house until I was at least 18 so I’d have to wait for years.

“I was worried I’d end up homeless my whole adult life.

“And it’s not because I’ve done anything wrong it’s just the situation I found myself in.”

Natalie was forced to give up her job as a charity fundraiser because she couldn’t take the buckets of money back to the B&B because she was worried the money would get stolen.

She added: “I’d encourage anyone who’s thinking about using Nightstop to go for it.

“When they first told me I’d be living with a stranger I was apprehensive but they were all lovely.

“It’s like a home away from home.

“Everyone is so kind and treats you with respect.

“One host let me leave some of my possessions in their house because they knew I’d be coming back and another left fresh pyjamas out for me.

“They think of everything. Some hosts give you a kettle and food in your room in case you’re too anxious to come out.

“Hosts always make sure you’re comfortable and have everything you need.”

Natalie can recall the date and the exact time she was given a house and now she’s focused on her future and passing her course in Law.

*Natalie’s name has been changed to protect her identity. 

Deacon Blue singer Lorraine McIntosh is to host a no-obligation Nightstop Information Evening for people who are interested in finding out more about becoming a Nightstop host. It will take place on Thursday (24 October 2019). If you would like to attend please register via simonscotland.org/nightstopvolunteer

Geraldine, Nightstop Glasgow host

Everyone Can Make a Difference: Our Nightstop Host Geraldine Shares Why She is a Community Host

Led by Deacon Blue star Lorraine McIntosh, we are looking for people who might consider becoming a community host with Nightstop Glasgow – perhaps even just once a month.  Geraldine Feeley is one of our longest serving hosts. 

Geraldine Feeley (53) from Easterhouse, Glasgow, has been a Nightstop host for two years.

She became a host so that she could help young people who become homeless because some members of her family have lost their homes over the years.

Geraldine has accommodated six young people so far and they have usually stayed with her for two to three nights, however one young woman stayed for three nights a week for a month.

She has always had a very positive experience and says she gets excellent support from us at Simon Community Scotland to help her to carry out the role, including regular meetings and training opportunities.

Geraldine said: “There’s no pressure to be available, it’s completely up to you.

“I tend not to ask my guests a lot of questions because I think if they want to tell me, they will.

“We have a general conversation and if they feel comfortable I’ll chat with them about their situation.

https://twitter.com/SimonCommScot/status/1184513141008424960

“Hosts need to be open minded and non-judgemental because each young person is different.”

She added: “Being a host is really rewarding, it’s nice to know I’ve done my bit.

“It’s great to get feedback about how well the young person’s getting on after they leave.

 “But I’m just one link in the chain, if everyone did their wee bit it could make a huge difference.”

Deacon Blue singer Lorraine McIntosh is to host a no-obligation Nightstop Information Evening for people who are interested in finding out more about becoming a Nightstop host. It will take place next Thursday (24 October 2019). If you would like to attend please register via simonscotland.org/nightstopvolunteer

These Kids Are Just Like Your Kids: Our Nightstop Host Miriam Shares Her Experience

Would you consider opening your home – and your heart – to a young person in Glasgow who desperately needs a safe place for the night? Our new campaign, led by Deacon Blue star Lorraine McIntosh, is looking for generous people who might just make all the difference to someone who is having a tough time. In our latest story, we feature Miriam Anwar, who recently became a Nightstop host. 

Miriam Anwar, (46), who lives with her grown-up son in the south side of Glasgow, became a host with Nightstop after working with our Street Team for a year.

She registered three months ago and hosted an under 18-year-old male on two occasions for four nights.

Miriam said: “The street team deals with the far end of homelessness, when people have been homeless for a long time, used many different services and often they’ve been let down.

“I was keen to work at the other end of the spectrum on the prevention side.

“I want to give young people a safe place to stay to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place.

“I’ve seen for myself how long people can end up being on the streets and as a single mum I’m aware of how easy it is for things to break down at home pretty fast.

“Tempers can flare and people walk out.

“Nightstop provides excellent background support when you host.

“The immediate reaction I get from friends and family when I say I’m going to host a young homeless person is ‘Oh my God will you be safe?’ 

“But you get full disclosure of who you are taking in before they arrive.

“I say to people these kids are just like your kids, they are just going through a tough time.

“And you are never forced to host anyone, it’s ultimately your decision.”

Miriam added: “You can have very open conversations with Nightstop staff about how it’s going and they are on call day and night if anything arises.

“For me it’s been a really positive experience.

“If anyone is thinking of becoming a host I’d say drop your prejudices.

For Jamie, Nightstop Glasgow, made a significant difference to his life. This is his story…Read on and learn about becoming a community host ➡️ simonscotland.org/news/without-nightstop-jamie/

Gepostet von Simon Community Scotland am Dienstag, 15. Oktober 2019

“Forget about the homeless person label – they are just a person.

“Being a host is a chance to meet really different and interesting people and enjoy a bit of company.

“I’d recommend Nightstop to anybody, it’s brilliant.

“Opening up your home to someone could help them in a very real way.

“The impact that you can make for someone that’s going through a time of upheaval can be immense. It’s just about giving someone a bit of stability, space and safety.”

Deacon Blue singer Lorraine McIntosh is to host a no-obligation Nightstop Information Evening for people who are interested in finding out more about becoming a Nightstop host. It will take place on 24 October 2019. If you would like to attend please register via simonscotland.org/nightstopvolunteer