Plea for younger volunteers to host homeless children

Simon Keys from Action for Children
Simon Keys from Action for Children's Dorset Nightstop

Action for Children’s Dorset Nightstop is making an urgent plea this month for younger volunteers to support its work with homeless young people across the county.

The project provides emergency temporary accommodation to homeless young people aged 16 to 25 from across the region, placing them with volunteer host families, typically for up to three nights, while local agencies find a long-term solution.

Volunteer coordinator, Simon Keys, said: “We recognise some people might be reluctant to host a homeless young person at this challenging time but we’re putting risk assessments in place to take account of Covid-19. The coronavirus crisis and lockdown has put a lot of pressure on families since March but also on services like ours across the region.

“So we need new volunteers now more than ever – particularly younger hosts who we can place young people with despite the pandemic. We have a lot of scared and vulnerable homeless young people who are just very grateful for a safe and secure home for a few days while we help them back on their feet.

“Our volunteers don’t necessarily have direct experience, but they all share two things; a genuine concern for children’s welfare and the desire to really make a difference in a young person’s life.”
Laura, 35, and Carl, 36, from Christchurch, have volunteered for Dorset Nightstop for over two years, and have offered temporary shelter to five young people.

Laura said: “It’s meant a lot to us to have been able to be there for these young people and be that first step up to a better situation for them.

“Many of those we’ve supported simply had nowhere to turn after a family argument or relationship breakdown. Others couldn’t afford their private accommodation anymore for one reason or another and had no support network to fall back on.”

Action for Children’s Dorset Nightstop offers full training and support to all its volunteers, as well as reimbursement of expenses associated with carrying out the role.  Volunteers can be from anywhere in the region but need to be over 21 years old. They also need to be able to drive and have access to a car.  

The next training sessions start on Tuesday 22 September and will be held virtually and at a venue in the Bournemouth area.

To find out about becoming a volunteer host for Dorset Nightstop or offer your driving services, call Simon Keys on 07779 029 292 or email


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