Moving TV documentary features Devon homelessness service

Nightstop Devon – an emergency accommodation service working in Exeter, North Devon, East Devon, Mid-Devon and Teignbridge – will be featured in a national TV documentary this month.

Channel 4 is to broadcast Would You Take In A Stranger?, a powerful and moving 50-minute film, on the evening of Tuesday 11th July featuring a Devon volunteer host and a young homeless person.
Paul has been using emergency accommodation Nightstop Devon – a project of Community Housing Aid – for years but will soon be too old to access the service.

Paul says: “Everything starts to get on top of you. You spiral downhill. You have to keep yourself going. Now I am 25 I have to do it myself because Nightstop won’t be able to support me forever. 

“If I have children, I will make sure there is a loving, supportive home and there is always a room ready for them. No matter how old they get they will always be welcome with open arms.”

The film’s narration says: “This really is his last chance. If he can’t find long-term accommodation in the next two weeks, the support will come to an end.”
Paul tells the documentary: “I don’t know where I am staying tonight at the moment.”
Nightstop Devon finds him a place with married couple Ken and Ian, who live in Dawlish, South Devon.

Project Coordinator Peter Heckles says: “It is great news that Ian is available. They have been hosts with us for a little while and they are experienced. I think they are a good match for Paul. He is going to make his way down there a little later.”

The Nightstop Devon team tells Paul how to get to Ian and Ken, gives him the train fare and arranges for the couple to meet him at the station.

On the journey, Paul talks about being put into care at the age of 14. “I felt life was not worth going on with” he says.

Nightstop Devon is part of a 33-strong national Nightstop network, which receives support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Over dinner, Ian and Ken talk with Paul about their time fostering and he tells them about his time in care.
After his stay with Ian and Ken, Paul says: “It is really nice to see such a loving couple. I had never before seen a gay couple who had been together for over five years. It showed me what true love is. I would like that myself.”

Since the film – made by Drummer TV – has been completed, Paul has moved into permanent accommodation.
He says: “I saw Ken and Ian and thought to myself, ‘I want that’. Now I can turn around and say, ‘I’ve got that.’  I have met a really nice bloke and can’t thank him enough for the support he has given me. He’s helped me move into the place I am now. He’s been amazing!”
Director Ben Freedman filmed in Devon over a period of months to make the documentary, which also features Nightstop services in Newcastle and Brighton.

Nightstop Devon Project Coordinator Peter said: “The use of spare rooms in a welcoming and nurturing home is a lifeline to young people in crisis.
“Last year we provided 688 bed-nights for 70 young people who were facing homelessness.
Nightstop provides a safety net to those unable stay at home, placing young people in a safe and warm home for the night, provided by a vetted and trained volunteer. And it prevents young people from sleeping rough or staying in unsafe places where they would be at risk of abuse.

The More 4 documentary is being broadcast from 10pm on Tuesday 11th July and will be available to view for a month afterwards on: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/catchup/more4

If you would like to find out about becoming a volunteer host for Nightstop Devon, please call Linda Hutchings on 01392 274854 or email nightstop@communityha.org.uk

For more information about the Channel 4 documentary, please contact Oliver Wilson at Oliver.Wilson@depaulcharity.org.uk, Nicola Harwood, Nicola.Harwood@depaulcharity.org.uk or Rachel Drummond-Hay, rachel@drummertelevision.com