By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead


IT has been a busy old week at the YMCA’s Nightstop project in Torbay, which can never be a good thing because more young people have been in danger of being homeless.

In what can only be an unfortunate coincidence, five young people have come forward in the last few days because they were running out of options and were about to be made homeless. They needed urgent help.

Thank goodness Nighstop exists because before December last year, there was no bespoke emergency system for young people. They were forced either into B&B’s or into sofa surfing on friend’s couches until their needs could be assessed, and a better solution found.

The premise is simple – a young person (aged between 16 and 25), for whatever reason – and the reasons are often complex from short-term family arguments to a breakdown of relationships leading to a long-term shift in circumstances – finds themselves about to be homeless and they urgently need somewhere to stay whilst they sort themselves out.

A quick phone call to 01803 551578 and they are in touch with a Nightstop support worker who can provide immediate advice and counselling and a host family is put on standby, just in case.

If things cannot be resolved immediately, then the young person is lodged at a volunteer host’s home overnight to give them breathing space. It also gives everyone else involved the opportunity to access the young person’s longer-term needs.

An almost perfect storm of circumstances means that there is currently a shortage of hosts and YMCA South Devon in Goodrington would like to hear from you if you can help.

It isn’t a big ask. In fact, all they really want is a comfortable private room in a caring, welcoming home and the ability to:

· Provide your guest with an evening meal, breakfast and packed lunch.
· Provide them with a shower or bath and the opportunity to wash their clothes.
· Liaise with Nightstop staff regarding availability and provide regular feedback after each placement.
· Observe clear professional boundaries with Nightstop guests.
· And finally, ensure appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices to reduce the risk of the transmission of COVID-19.

At just 22 years old Daniel Cunliffe found himself at Nightstop a few months ago having run out of sofa surfing options and having spent a few nights out in the open on the streets.

Like so many other young people Daniel just needed a break. He wasn’t workshy and had held down several jobs, but a fallout with his family meant he struggled to get a roof over his head.

Things became so bad that he attempted suicide and still, his cries for help did not lead to the kickstart he needed until he turned to Nightstop.

After the initial call, he was initially placed with a volunteer in Bovey Tracey and within the hour he was cooking for himself and his host whilst the Nightstop team began assessing his long-term needs.

He then spent a few more nights with hosts in Paignton and Bovey before finding a place at a charity with a residential centre in Chumleigh, Devon, that specialises in helping young homeless people back on their feet.

Since then, he has gone from strength to strength and is now settling into a new role in Exeter and is grateful for all the help Nightstop provided in getting him back on his feet.

“Everyone talks about the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, for me, it was suddenly switched back on. Their timing was perfect because I honestly think that if it weren’t for the team at Nightstop I might not be here at all.”

“Put simply, they represented the last little bit of hope I had, and they delivered. They have been amazing.”

Nightsop’s fantastic team of volunteer hosts needs bolstering and all you need to join them is:

  • A desire to work with disadvantaged young people.
  • A basic understanding of the issues homeless people face.
  • An ability to relate to people on a one-to-one, non-judgmental basis.
  • A spare room available for a Nightstop guest to use at short notice.
  • A willingness to participate in training and supervision
  • Full training and ongoing support is provided. If you can help, please ring 01803 551578 or email [email protected]


Homeless man photo courtesy of


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