A CHARITY has put out an urgent call for volunteers in the Richmondshire and Catterick areas, to support local young people facing homelessness.
The charity SASH helps vulnerable people between the ages of 16 and 25 who need a safe place to stay while they find somewhere permanent to live, through its emergency Nightstop project and longer-term Supported Lodgings scheme.
The accommodation is provided entirely in the homes of local volunteers and the charity needs more people in Richmond and Catterick to come forward and help.
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Laura Allen, SASH co-ordinator for Richmond, said: “Many people are unaware of the problem of youth homelessness in more rural areas.
“It is not as visible as adult homelessness as young people tend not to sleep rough, they are staying on friends’ floors or sofas instead.
“However, it is a very real problem, which can put young people at risk of abuse and has a detrimental effect on their mental and physical health and ultimately their future life prospects.
“Through our volunteer hosts, we aim to reach these young people as early as possible, so that their homelessness does not become entrenched and they can move on to a more positive future. Unfortunately we currently do not have enough hosts in the Richmond and Catterick areas to help all those who need it.”
Sue Horsley, who has been a host for the charity since 2013, said: “I’m getting older and I can’t do what I used to do but one thing I can do is look after people. I’ve had about 13 young people to stay since I started.
"What motivates me is just helping them through whatever they’re going through, just being there for them.
“It’s very rewarding and because I’m not doing it all the time, it doesn’t put a great strain on me.”
Volunteers are fully trained and supported and receive payment for each night they host. There is information about volunteering on the SASH website at; sash-uk.org.uk or call 01904-652043.