VOLUNTEERS celebrate ten years of opening their homes to young people living on the streets this weekend.

The North-East Nightstop group, based in Saville Row, Newcastle, was the second branch of the national service to open in the country.

It works through a network of volunteers who take in homeless people aged between 16 and 25.

It also offers an accommodation advice and support service, such as helping with applications for tenancies and finding hostel accommodation.

It deals with referrals from Derwentside, Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead and North and South Tyneside.

The service is one of five North-East charities taking part in a homeless awareness event in Gateshead MetroCentre's Exhibition Square today.

Others taking part are Shaid, the Stanley advice centre for young people in Derwentside, the Aquila Housing Association for young homeless women in Gateshead, Stepping Stones hostel and The Foyer hostel, in Newcastle.

Throughout the day, drama students from Cap--pie, a youth project in Dipton, County Durham, will perform a short play about homelessness. Performances will take place at 11.30am, 2.30pm and 3.30pm.

The event will also include a performance by Swalwell Community Primary School choir at 10.30am and a speech by the Mayor of Gateshead at noon.