Nightsafe Blackburn: Why Do Young People Become Homeless?
Nightsafe is a Blackburn-based charity which provides help for young homeless people between the ages of 16 - 24. Nightsafe offers four individual services for young people: Platform 5, The Shelter, Witton Project, and Cornfield Cliffe. In this video, Nightsafe’s Chief Executive Jan Larkin explains some of the reasons why young people turn to Nightsafe for help.
Jan explains that there can be a multitude of reasons why a young person has become homeless, but one of the main causes is family breakdowns. This can then lead to other issues, including a lack of confidence and self esteem, drug and alcohol issues, and, increasingly, mental health problems. Jan explains that these problems can also be exacerbated by the process of claiming benefits or Universal Credit; overall, there can be a combination of different reasons which lead to a young person becoming homeless and requiring support from Nightsafe.
The Shelter provides up to nine nights of emergency accommodation for young people, giving them access to a safe environment where they are able to spend the night. The shelter also helps the Nightsafe team to identify the ways in which they can help its residents. “Having the night shelter gives us time to work with them, and start exploring some of the reasons why they come to us,” says Jan.
Platform 5 is a day centre which offers a safe environment for young people to access during the daytime, where they have access to showers, laundry and storage facilities, and meals, as well as health drop ins.
Nightsafe's Witton Project is a medium stay supported housing project, which provides accommodation for up to four homeless young people aged 16 - 18. Support workers help young people to gain the skills and confidence required in order for them to move on to independent living.
Cornfield Cliffe is a supported housing project based in Darwen, offering 24 hour support for young people aged 16-24. Accommodating up to six young people at one time, each resident has their own bedroom with an en suite bathroom, as well as access to a communal living area, a shared kitchen, and activity room. Each resident is assigned a support worker to help them move forward and achieve their goals. Staff help residents to learn life skills such as cooking, budgeting, filling in forms, and employment and training skills.
By working with other organisations across the Blackburn and Darwen borough, Nightsafe is able to provide support for vulnerable young people who have nowhere else to turn. Since Nightsafe first began in 1990, they have helped around 10,000 young people; given 30,000 nights off the street; provided 100,000 meals; and now have a team of 400 volunteers dedicated to helping homeless young people.
Young people in need of support or accommodation can refer themselves to Nightsafe. Referrals are also accepted from friends and family members, or from agencies on the young person’s behalf. To make a referral, contact Nightsafe on 01254 503067 during office hours, or for emergency accommodation, call 01254 672139.