Nightstop North East charity wins Big Society Award

Charity members with prime minister David Cameron.

Charity members with prime minister David Cameron.

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A Whitley Bay-based charity which provides emergency accommodation for homeless young people has been awarded for their outstanding contribution to the community.

Nightstop North East, a project run by youth homelessness charity Depaul UK, is the latest winner of the Big Society Award.

The organisation’s 33 volunteers host homeless young people aged 16 to 25 from Tyne & Wear and County Durham in their own homes, providing a safe place to sleep, washing facilities and breakfast for up to 14 nights.

They also work with the young people to support them into more permanent accommodation or to return home to their families.

The Nightstop team attended a reception on Monday at 10 Downing Street where they were presented with their award by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr 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, which is based in Oxford Street, Whitley Bay, said they are delighted to raise the award.

She said: “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.”