Depaul UK is a youth homelessness charity which supports thousands of young people across the UK who are experiencing homelessness, or sleeping in unsafe places.
Nightstop UK is project, run and overseen by Depaul UK, which prevents youth homelessness by providing emergency overnight accommodation in the homes of trained and vetted community volunteers. There are 34 Nightstop services across the UK which provide a safe place to stay for young people who may otherwise be sleeping rough.
Lisa relied on Nightstop when she was forced to leave the family home.
Lisa was just 16 years old when she left home.
Her relationship with her adopted parents had reached breaking point. She left with nothing but the clothes on her back, she didn’t even have a mobile phone. In her own words, here is Lisa's story.
“I had no money. I literally had nothing. It was so cold over those first few days, so frosty.
“Something went down in my family I needed somewhere to go long-term, but there was no long-term accommodation straight up. I knew I couldn’t go home again. So Nightstop came in and helped me to get support.
[When she heard there was a bed with Nightstop available] “I was relieved that someone was willing to help me. For them to let a complete stranger to come and stay. I hadn’t done anything to deserve it and they were just willing to open up their house for me.
“When I arrived [at the host’s house] I was exhausted, I’d barely slept a wink. We got tea and they taught me how to play a board game, Chinese Checkers. We talked about family members and upcoming Christmas and stuff. We got another cup of tea. I had a shower and headed to bed.
“My room was small but it had a bed, a desk, it had books to read, it was warm. It was quite nice.
“At that point I only thought I was staying for one night. Then Nightstop said the couple were willing to take me on for three more nights, so I caught the bus that night and went back to theirs. We got tea again and the days just carried on like that.
“I was still going to college, studying health and social care. Nightstop would check every morning how everything was. It was great. They really checked up on me and made sure everything was okay.
“In total, it was two weeks staying in different places with Nightstop. It was exhausting moving all the time, but when I got there I really did feel relaxed and at home. They [the hosts] are the nicest people you can meet. They’re not strangers, they’re people who are willing to help if you just let them. The hosts are really inspirational. It’s amazing what they do.
“I’ve got somewhere to stay now with another charity. Nightstop still checks up on me to make sure everything is alright. I feel really supported.
“My college course is two years. I want to do the best I can there and then go to uni and live life and know that I’m okay. If I need support I know where it is.
“[Without Nightstop] I wouldn’t have been able to get any food, I wouldn’t have been able to keep warm. I wouldn’t have got this far without them. I feel human again. They really looked after me and adapted to what I needed. I feel a lot safer.”
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*The image used with this story is for illustration and for privacy reasons is not of the young person featured in this case study.