Charity for homeless seeks cash lifeline

A CHARITY that provides vital help to young people facing homelessness is battling for survival.

Lottery funding has come to an end for High Peak Nightstop and the charity is struggling to secure alternative funding.

Co-ordinator Cath Sterndale, who is now the only paid member of staff and working reduced hours, said: “We desperately need funding to continue the service.

“We are looking for any group or anybody that can help us with some form of corporate sponsorship or donations – anything really.”

The small organisation helps young people aged 16-25 across the whole of the High Peak. The charity was called upon by four young people experiencing homelessness over the Christmas period

“Funding is very difficult to obtain, especially in the current economic climate,” explained Cath. “Everything we do we have to raise our own funds for, including bag packs and flag days – anything to keep going.”

The charity helps find young people somewhere to stay either with friends or with one of the volunteer hosts.

“We have hosts who put them up in their own homes for one or two nights.”

The volunteers provide the young person with a meal, somewhere to stay and access to laundry facilities. However the charity does not just turn them back out on the streets the following day as Cath explained.

“We try to involve other agencies and refer them and work with them to ensure they can actually receive all the help they are entitled to.

“So it might be Social Services, it might be Housing or maybe a private landlord or a housing association.

“Our main concern is to take them out of crisis and keep them safe.”

As well as providing a place to stay the charity can also act as a mediator.

“Teenagers fall out with parents and do walk out from home. If they haven’t got anywhere they feel they can stay that night they are officially classed as homeless.

‘‘We try to get them home or where they are going to be safe, even sleeping at a friends, if we don’t host them ourselves.

“We have young people who have lost their job where they have been living in at a hotel for example. They are suddenly sacked and asked to leave straight away. We are trying to bridge the gap.”

In addition, the charity also offers practical support to young people who are struggling to meet the challenge of independent living.

However, in order to survive and continue their valuable work the charity needs help from the wider community, organisations and individuals.

Anyone who can provide help or support is urged to contact Cath on 01298 74788 or on 07528 076659.