Homeless Charity Centrepoint Helps 10,000 16-25 Year Olds Each Year

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The homeless charity Centrepoint supports 10,000 homeless people each year and their work will continue over the Christmas period to ensure young people never feel alone. 

Centrepoint was founded in 1969, and ever since then its staff and volunteers have committed themselves to helping homeless people between the ages of 16-25, providing them with the resources necessary to get back on track and live independently.

The organisation is the UK’s leading charity for homeless young people, offering accommodation, food, health assessments, career guidance and general support for those who have nowhere else to turn.

More than 400 people work for the charity, and their patron is none other than Prince William, who took on the role after Princess Diana’s death. Centrepoint ambassadors include Ellie Goulding, Jonathan Ross and Lorraine Kelly.

Speaking to UNILAD, Paul Noblet, Centrepoint’s Head of Public Affairs, offered a greater insight into what the charity can offer the young, vulnerable, and homeless.

He explained:

Centrepoint supports 10,000 homeless young people each year through accommodation, support programmes and our network of partners across the country.

Our work is about more than just a bed for the night. We help young people pursue education, training and employment.

We help them develop the practical skills they’ll need to live independently, like budgeting, healthy eating and managing a tenancy.

This Christmas thousands of young people won't have a place to call home.Please donate and show a homeless young person that someone cares. https://centrepoint.org.uk/donate/appeals/xmas-donate/

Posted by Centrepoint on Thursday, 13 December 2018

Recognising how living on the streets could impact a young mind – as it could any mind – the charity also has professionals who can provide mental health support and advice.

Paul continued:

We employ specialist psychotherapists and mental health advisors to help young people deal with the mental health issues that so often come with experiencing homelessness.

In 2017 approximately 103,000 young people in the UK approached their local authorities for help with homelessness, but only 13 per cent of those received accommodation.

Thanks to funding from local authorities, Centrepoint have been able to expand their organisation to help more 16-25 year olds than ever.

Two years ago the organisation set up the Centrepoint helpline, which allows staff to provide homeless people across the country with support and advice.

The charity also runs accommodation services across Britain, providing 1,271 beds throughout 60 hostels in 15 boroughs of London, Sunderland, Manchester, Bradford and Barnsley.

Although homelessness is an issue all year round, raising awareness for the charity is even more vital during the cold winter months.

Paul explained:

If anyone is sleeping rough then the need to find them a safe, warm place to stay is of course never greater than when the weather is freezing outside.

We try to raise awareness of our work as much as possible over the winter months as homelessness tends to be on people’s minds a bit more.

In being given a safe place to sleep, young people can begin their journey towards independent living.

Homeless people staying in Centrepoint hostels typically stay there for anywhere between six months and two years, all the while working to improve their situation, whether that be by spending time away from family members they’ve had conflict with, pursuing steps for education or simply learning how to successfully take care of themselves.

Young people who are spending Christmas in the charity’s hostels will be able to take part in a range of activities to help them realise they are not alone, and hopefully enjoy the festivities attached to the holidays.

After coming to hostels from the streets, those living there will feel at home as they receive gifts and a Christmas dinner.

Paul gave an insight to Christmastime at Centrepoint, saying:

Lots of different activities take place in our hostels over Christmas, from decorating to swapping gifts, and of course Christmas dinner.

Christmas can be a really difficult time for the young people we support. It’s traditionally a time of year spent with family and for most of our residents, that’s not an option.

Keyworkers play a vital role in not just providing some fun activities but also that extra emotional support that might be needed over the festive season.

Even after people are ready to move on from Centrepoint, the staff continue to offer their assistance.

The charity provides rent deposits for those in need to help them afford their first independent accommodation, and a member of staff will remain in contact for six months to ensure the transition is going well.

In watching young people who once had nowhere else to turn change their lives for the better, Centrepoint’s staff and volunteers can see how their work makes a difference.

Check out how Centrepoint supported a young man named Josh here:

Explaining what he finds most rewarding about working for the charity, Paul continued:

It’s really satisfying to see young people thriving, whether that’s at university, in their chosen career, or through sports, music and other activities.

Homeless young people have the same dreams and aspirations as anyone else; they just have more barriers in their way.

If Centrepoint can help remove those barriers, the young people we support go on to achieve great things.

With Centrepoint’s help, young people can go from living on the streets to living independently, having learned the skills to do so.

As thousands of people seek help for homelessness every year, it is important we raise awareness of the help they can get through Centrepoint – or any homeless charity, for that matter.

In Manchester, staff at the charity Barnabus are working over New Year to provide those out on the streets with a positive end to 2018, and a good start to 2019.

Barnabus are holding a free drop-in on New Year’s Eve followed by a lunch on New Year’s Day where clothing and showers are offered along with a lunch for homeless people to go and enjoy some hot food.

Neil Cornthwaite who works for Barnabus explained to UNILAD how the events aim to help the mental health and wellbeing of those without a home by providing a social setting on days which could otherwise feel very lonely.

They will be held at the Beacon drop-in centre, running from 10:30am until 1pm on New Years Eve, and 11am until 2pm on New Years Day. Barnabus need at least 11 volunteers at each event, though more are always welcome.

If you can offer your assistance in any way to these charities, whether it be through volunteering or donating, please do.

If you’d like to donate to Centrepoint, you can do so here. Alternatively visit the Barnabus website to see the different ways you can hep.

If you’re a young person struggling with homelessness, or know someone who is, call the Centrepoint helpline for free on 0808 800 0661 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm), or visit their website.  


Emily Brown

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.