Deacon Blue star backs Nightstop homelessness campaign
Deacon Blue star Lorraine McIntosh has announced her support for Simon Community Scotland’s Nightstop campaign which offers young people a safe place to spend the night in times of crisis.
The singer has invited people in Glasgow to “open their homes and hearts” to vulnerable young people in her home city after revealing that she herself was homeless when she was 18, an experience which has lived with her for more than 35 years.
Now also a well-known actress, Lorraine is backing the Nightstop campaign which aims to prevent people aged 16-25 ending up on the streets or in unsuitable or unsafe temporary accommodation.
The programme houses people in a safe and warm home for the night, provided by a vetted and approved volunteer. Hosts will offer a private bedroom, a hot meal, and a shower. A range of toiletries and other essentials are also provided by the charity.
Young people can stay for one or two nights, or in some cases up to three weeks, during which time they will be offered support from the Nightstop team.
Ms McIntosh is encouraging people to sign up as hosts and has said the service would have been a lifeline for her in her teenage years.
She said: “I came out of school one day and didn’t know where I was going to sleep that night. It was a really shameful and embarrassing experience and I had nowhere to turn.
“If Nightstop had been around then for me that would have been brilliant. Just to be offered a bedroom, a hot meal, some nice clean pyjamas and toiletries and to know you can talk to someone if you want to, but that’s left up to you.”
Lorraine McGrath, Simon Community chief executive, added: “We’re calling upon the people of Glasgow to open their hearts and homes, by helping us help young people in desperate need. These young people are often coming from extremely difficult circumstances, and a safe, calm place to rest for the night is critically important.
“Last year when we launched, we provided 96 nights of accommodation for young people, but we expect this to rise this winter after we launch a new awareness campaign for young people across the city.
“Being a host might mean being available as little as one night per month, or more if possible. Each host that joins us is extensively trained, has ongoing support, and all of our work is underpinned with a very significant safeguarding process.”
Ms McIntosh is hosting an information evening on October 24 for anyone who thinks they would be interested in hosting. Further information can be found on the Simon Community website.