Depaul opens new centre to prevent youth homelessness

The charity launches Endeavour Centre in London, offering emergency support for young people in crisis

The Depaul charity has officially opened a new centre dedicated to fighting youth homelessness.

Based at Sherborne House near London Bridge, the new Endeavour Centre is described as a “haven for young people facing homelessness who need a safe place to find help in an emergency.”

The centre provides emergency help in a crisis for young people, plus training and support as they look to get back into employment or education.

Depaul Endeavour Centre
The Duchess of Norfolk and Deputy Mayor James Murray open the Endeavour Centre, with Kirk, Raf, Harry and Jermaine

No young person should ever have to sleep in an unsafe place.

Depaul provide and support more than 125,000 bed-nights a year to homeless and vulnerable young people. The charity has helped more than 63,000 people since it was founded in 1989.

Speaking at the official opening of the new premises, Depaul UK CEO, Martin Houghton-Brown, said:

“No young person should ever have to sleep in an unsafe place. The creation of the Endeavour Centre in London means that not only has Nightstop, with its brilliant offer of a safe bed for young people in crisis, got a base, but that young people who would otherwise be at risk on the streets can have somewhere safe to be during the day.

“This will be a hub of help and hope. Young people who need Depaul’s help in a homelessness crisis or who live in our accommodation will be able to use the centre to connect with the community, learning how to be active, creative, emotionally stable and how to get into education or employment.”

The nationwide charity operates a network of 33 Nightstop services, providing emergency accommodation for young people in a “safe and warm home for the night, provided by a vetted and approved volunteer” when they might otherwise be forced to sleep rough, sofa surf, or stay in an unsuitable or dangerous environment.

The situation for young people in London is getting tougher and tougher

In the past year alone, the charity has recorded a huge increase in the use of their Nightstop service.

“The situation for young people in London is getting tougher and tougher. More people need us now than ever before. Street homelessness has rocketed, with a 37 per cent increase in the use of a Nightstop Service in the last year,” said Houghton-Brown.

Deputy Mayor of London James Murray addressed the crowd – which included young people helped by Depaul as well as Neil Coyle, Labour candidate for the local Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency – at the centre’s launch: “Talking to Londoners about rough sleeping and homelessness – the analysis is often one of despair.

“Coming here today is a fantastic antidote. To see the breadth of support is truly uplifting.”

It can be very scary, going in to a stranger’s home

Murray also outlined Sadiq Khan‘s plans for councils, charities, foundations and the private sector to work together to fight homelessness. He called it: “a shared endeavour, focused on bringing people together to tackle the crisis of housing and homelessness.”

One of the young people to benefit from Nightstop also spoke at the event. “It can be very scary, going in to a stranger’s home,” said Nohr (main pic, right), who is now studying law at City University. “But every single person has been positive. If you offer your room, you are a compassionate person.”

DID YOU KNOW…

There are currently around 2,000 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.

Professor Green visits DePauls Homeless Shelter in London

Earlier this year, as part of the BBC’s Comic Relief appeal, Depaul were also visited by rapper Professor Green.

He praised the service, saying: “There’s a million reasons why someone can end up homeless. Places like Depaul UK make all the difference to these young people.”

Here’s hoping the new Endeavour Centre ensures fewer young people are forced to endure even a single night on the streets…