Here at YMCA South Devon, we rely on ordinary people who host young people experiencing homelessness in their spare room. We also need people who can be Nightstop drivers to put young people’s minds at ease as they make their way to the volunteer’s home.

Our volunteers come from all backgrounds, but they have one thing in common – they want to make sure no young person sleeps in an unsafe place ever again.

Nightstop would not exist without our army of incredible volunteer hosts. So how does it work?

Volunteers apply before they are visited, supported, and trained to become a Nightstop host. Training covering a variety of topics including information about clients, do’s and don’ts, practical tips, advice on maintaining boundaries, and how to access support.

All our volunteers sign up for a rota and choose which evenings they would like to host, on a completely flexible basis. You can do one day a month or sign up for every night – it is up to you.

All young people staying with you are assessed and checked before we arrange any placements. Staff are responsible for supporting young people on their long-term needs, including finding them permanent accommodation.

Hosts provide an evening meal, a private room, and somewhere for guests to wash. Our hosts are trained on how to be a listening ear to young people, so guests have someone to talk to if they need it. You are not expected to be a counsellor!

Hosts are reimbursed for the expenses they incur and are provided with toiletries to offer to any Nightstop guests staying. If you think you can offer young people a safe place to sleep and would like to find out more, please email: nightstop@ymcasouthdevon.org.uk

Common questions we are asked:

Will I be contacted by a staff member whilst hosting?

Yes, we have a 24 hour on call system. Staff call volunteer 15 minutes after young person is due to arrive and text young people to see how they are finding the placement. If there are concerns throughout the placement, on call are available to help. This means hosts and young people’s phone numbers are never shared.

I have a spare room, but my children still live at home. Can I host?

Absolutely. A family environment has had positive feedback from young people.

How long does becoming a host take?

It does depend on each circumstance. Each part of the process takes time, and we aim to complete the process as quickly as possible. Usually, no longer than 3 months.

Will I find out what happens to the young people I host?

Yes, young people’s outcomes are discussed at monthly updates, support visits and annual reviews.

YMCA Nightstop is currently recruiting volunteers and if you would like more information or an application form email our Nightstop team at +44 (0)1803 551578 or email nightstop@ymcasouthdevon.org.uk