depauluk-sqThe Depaul UK run Nightstop (Shelter) North East which provides emergency accommodation for homeless young people is the latest winner of a prestigious Big Society Award, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

Nightstop North East operates a team of 33 volunteers across Tyne & Wear and County Durham, covering an area of 1223 square miles. Volunteers host young people aged 16 – 25 who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets in their own homes, providing a safe place to sleep, washing facilities and breakfast for up to 14 nights.

The volunteer hosts aged 26 – 80 years old are trained by Nightstop and have donated over 37,500 hours of their time to support over 850 young people since the initiative began in 2008. The charity also works with the young people to support them into more permanent accommodation or to return home to their families.

Prime Minister David Cameron said “This Big Society Award recognises the achievements of the whole Nightstop team, including the 33 inspirational volunteers who regularly open up their own homes to provide a safe place to sleep when it’s needed most. Nightstop North East provides an invaluable service, reaching out a helping hand to some of the region’s most vulnerable young people and getting them off the streets for good.”

Kester Young, Senior Project Worker at Nightstop said “We are delighted to receive an Award. Nightstop volunteers deserve a huge amount of recognition for the opportunity they provide to some of the most vulnerable in society. Time after time the hosts selflessly offer up their home and hospitality to young people in need and, without  them and the various other volunteers that provide essential support to office staff on a daily basis, there would be a massive gap in support available to young people. The award serves as a reminder that the project is well appreciated and gives us all extra encouragement to continue the work we do, to stick to our values of celebrating the potential of people, putting our words into action and taking a wider role in civil society.”

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Pictured are: Martin Houghton-Brown (Depaul UK CExec), Liz Fry (Project Worker), David Cameron, Pauline Gibson (Host), Sheila Clapperton (Host

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