BRIDGWATER YMCA are calling on compassionate residents to open up their homes to young people who temporarily find themselves homeless.

A new scheme called Nightstop has recently been relaunched whereby young people aged 16-25 who may face sleeping on the streets otherwise are placed with 'hosts', families or residents who have a spare room and can offer somewhere to sleep and a hot meal.

Laura Penrose, Nightstop co-ordinator for Sedgemoor, says it is vital to do what we can to stop young people sleeping rough.

"This work can save someone's life," Miss Penrose said.

"Host families look after a vulnerable young person for anywhere between one night and two weeks while we work to address their situation, whether that is finding a way for them to stay with family, another form of more permanent accommodation or gaining employment to help them secure steady income," she said.

"Anyone willing to be a host will be given full training but basically needs to be able to offer a bed, shower and some food.

"It is important to keep people off the street if we can - negative cycles can soon take hold when people are sleeping rough and have a big impact on a person's health and wellbeing."

Miss Penrose said there are many reasons young people can find themselves temporarily homeless, whether that is a fall out with a family, the breakdown of a relationship, struggling to pay rent while working on a zero-hour contract.

The number of people sleeping rough in the UK has increased by 169 per cent since 2010, and between October 2017 and June this year, there were approximately 4,750 people sleeping rough on any one night in the UK.

Miss Penrose said there are currently four host homes signed up, but she would like there to be a lot more to give flexibility.

"This scheme is suitable for people who really care and are passionate about helping people," she said.

"It can make a huge difference in someone's life."

There is also a similar scheme for those aged over 25 called Emergency Host Family people can sign up to.

If anyone would like to get in touch to find out more information about the programme, call 01278 726000 or email