Deacon Blue star Lorraine McIntosh has called upon people in Glasgow to ‘open their homes and hearts’ to some of the most vulnerable young people in her home city.
Lorraine has thrown her support behind Simon Community Scotland’s Nightstop campaign, after revealing she was homeless as a teenager.
It’s an experience which has lived with her for more than 35 years.
Now also a well-known actress, Lorraine remembers the embarrassment she felt when her family lost their home overnight when she was 18.
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.”
For that reason, the 55-year-old is backing Simon Community’s campaign to encourage people to become ‘hosts’ for as much or little time as they can.
Nightstop prevents homelessness through community hosting – providing a safety net to those who have been forced to leave their home.
The programme places young people aged 16 to 25 in a safe and warm home for the night, provided by a vetted and approved volunteer.
Hosts offer a private bedroom, a hot meal, and shower. A range of toiletries and other essentials are also provided by Simon Community Scotland.
Nightstop is designed to prevent young people from sleeping rough, “sofa surfing”, or staying in unsuitable accommodation where they could be at risk.
A young person can stay for one or two nights – or up to three weeks – depending on their circumstances and not necessarily with the same host.
Simon Community Chief Executive Lorraine McGrath said: “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.”
Lorraine McIntosh is to host a no-obligation Nightstop Information Evening for people who think they may be able to host on October 24.
People who would like to attend are asked to register via simonscotland.org/nightstopvolunteer