Sheffield appeal boxes save thousands

Nightstop Sheffield has launched a new festive appeal which is being backed as a campaign by the Sheffield Telegraph. People are being asked to 'take the Advent Box Challenge' and collect 24 essential items for young people facing homelessness this Christmas - anything from shampoo and shower gel to clean socks and sleepwear. Pictured are Hannah Benson, Amy Smith and Nikki Pickard. Picture: Chris Etchells
Nightstop Sheffield has launched a new festive appeal which is being backed as a campaign by the Sheffield Telegraph. People are being asked to 'take the Advent Box Challenge' and collect 24 essential items for young people facing homelessness this Christmas - anything from shampoo and shower gel to clean socks and sleepwear. Pictured are Hannah Benson, Amy Smith and Nikki Pickard. Picture: Chris Etchells

An appeal backed bythe Sheffield Telegraph will save a charity from spending thousands of pounds on essential items for young homeless people.

The newspaper supported the Advent Box Challenge, run by the Nightstop South Yorkshire organisation, which is based on Eyre Street in the city centre.

Readers were asked to assemble boxes containing 24 items, ranging from toiletries to pyjamas.

The donations will be given to the charity’s users – vulnerable young people aged 16 to 25 – throughout 2017.

Amy Smith, Nightstop manager, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the generosity that the people of Sheffield have displayed this Christmas. Hundreds of people have come into the office to donate their advent boxes and we’ve met so many kind people.

“We estimate that the items we have collected – pyjamas, slippers, toiletries and sanitary products – will save us more than £3,000 in 2017 and allow us to help even more young people.”

Nightstop places vulnerable young people at risk of homelessness in the spare bedroom of a volunteer host – but sometimes guests come to the service with little more than the clothes they stand up in.

Amy added: “The young people we work with in Sheffield often come to us because of family breakdown, and if they’ve been kicked out, aren’t always able to collect their belongings.”

The appeal launched at the start of December and Nightstop had donations from families and individuals as well as churches, offices and students from both universities in the city who joined together to donate advent boxes.

The charity also offers help with moving into supported accommodation.

When the appeal began, programme manager Sarah Gregory said: “Many young people who come to us do so because their parents or carers are no longer willing or able to accommodate them.

“There might be a relationship breakdown, or families get to a situation where they felt that there needs to be a change in arrangements.

“The situation they find themselves in can’t continue. Sometimes they have run out of emergency options.”

Nightstop South Yorkshire was set up earlier this year with a £200,000 grant from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.