Are you a homeless ‘champion’?

A collaboration of Exeter, Teignbridge, East Devon and Mid Devon Local Authorities have been awarded one of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s network of Homelessness Prevention Trailblazer areas, to go further and faster with reform and support more people to avoid a homelessness crisis in the first place.

As part of this initiative, we proud to announce that we will be delivering a new ‘Homeless Prevention Champion’ service; in partnership with Julian House. We are currently recruiting to the project – please visit our ‘current vacancies’ page.

This wide ranging project will seek to:

  1. Bring voluntary sector agencies together to develop a shared approach (to homeless prevention)
  2. Identify best practise and prevention‘champions’
  3. Generate and promote the service through social media, a dedicated website and events
  4. Identify & respond to (related) training needs across the voluntary sector
  5. Promote & deliver an ‘outcomes pot’; enabling voluntary sector agencies to claim resources for homeless prevention activity
  6. Involve and engage the wider community in homeless prevention

Keep an eye on our social media feeds for further announcements in the coming weeks.


What Works 4 You is live!

Our latest project ‘What Works 4 You’ is now live; providing financial capability support at Co-Lab, Wat Tyler House.We have a dedicated 2 day a week drop in for young people aged 16 – 25, and also one for offenders & ex-offenders; where experienced staff will offer:

– Immediate assistance with benefit & debt issues

– A suite of resources & staff support to help identify & improve common areas of (financial) concern

– Support to access a wide range of agencies via ‘Co-Lab’ at Wat Tyler House, Exeter


JULY 2015 Comic Relief success for local charityCOMIC R

Community Housing Aid is pleased to announce a number of grant successes which will enable our project Nightstop Devon to continue preventing youth homelessness in Devon this year.  Nightstop Devon has recently been awarded grants by Comic Relief, Garfield Weston and Devon Community Foundation.  Comic Relief has given £118,899 over 3 years, providing stability and continuity for this vital service.

Stuart Hooper, Director of Community Housing Aid said:

“Not having somewhere safe to eat, wash and sleep tonight is hard to imagine, let alone as an 18 or 19 year old.  Funding success for Nightstop Devon enables us to continue changing young lives for the better, preventing young people’s exposure to the risks of rough sleeping.  For many of our young people, the offer of Nightstop is a turning point in their lives, providing a breathing space and support to get their lives back on track.

We are hugely grateful to Comic Relief, Garfield Weston and Devon Community Foundation for their support but would like to stress that we still need support locally to meet the increase in need. May 2015 was our busiest month since opening in 2001 – we provided 96 nights of emergency accommodation to young people in Devon, with as many as 6 young people staying on any one night.  If the local authorities, families and communities of Devon support us, we will make sure that we don’t ever have to turn young people away.”

‘Simon’, a young person who recently stayed with Nightstop Devon, said:

“I would have killed myself. I was on the streets for over three months and I didn’t speak to my family except my brother but he works 12 hours a day”

“The hosts showed me to my room, gave me biscuits and coffee, we watched a film – I wouldn’t normally do this with someone I didn’t know”

Nightstop Facts

  • Nightstop Devon is recruiting to a full time post – if you are interested, please visit
  • Nightstop Devon is affiliated to Depaul UK, the leading youth homelessness charity.
  • Nightstop Devon was presented with a Guardian Charity of the Year award in 2011.
  • Last year, Nightstop Devon provided over 500 nights of accommodation to 16 – 25 year olds.
  • Nightstop volunteers receive training, support and can contact a member of staff who is on-call 24/7.
  • They are paid £15 per night to cover their expenditure on heat, light, food etc.
  • In 2010, around 30% of project running costs were met by district councils. This year it is 7%.
  • The 3 year grant from Comic Relief will also help the project to identify young people before they find themselves homeless, and offer respite/’time out’ in the hope that they can return home afterwards.


MAY 2014: Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd has announced more than £2.5 million funding to change the lives of vulnerable young people.

The funding will help 26 volunteering programmes provide crucial support for young people in vulnerable circumstances, including young offenders and care leavers. The programmes bring together volunteers and community organisations to help solve some of the big issues affecting vulnerable young people. An estimated 3 million young people up to the age of 18 are vulnerable and disengaged. Many of these fail to reach their potential at school or are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The grants have been awarded through the Vulnerable and Disengaged Young People Fund (which is administered by the Social Investment Business Group). The funding will also be invested through the Centre for Social Action. Nightstop Devon have been successful in securing funding to extend their service into Northern Devon. In collaboration with Encompass South West, the project will recruit and train new hosts in order to reach 300 young homeless people or those at risk of becoming homeless. 



london marathonA BIG shout out goes to Alan Terry, Jon Hibberd and Andy Tedd. Each of whom donned their running shoes on behalf of CHA projects, Nightstop Devon and Bay6. Alan braved the Great West Run in Exeter in October, while Jon conquered the London Marathon in April of this year. Finally, Andy completed an ultra marathon in a great time for the CHA Bay 6 project. To all non runners out there, that is a whopping 36miles! Thank you to all of them, as collectively they raised an astonishing £1200+ for Community Housing Aid projects.

Kev Hunter, Project Coordinator for Nightstop Devon: “ It was just brilliant having runners willing to represent and champion a smaller charity, and raise much needed funds for our bespoke projects. I always marvel at how the human body can keep going for such long distances, maybe it is thought of cake at the finish line!”

For more information on how to fundraise for us, please check out our Fundraising Page.


FEBRUARY: The Diamond Champions: Unsung heroes of the Royal Voluntary Service


A dozen volunteers from across Britain were named as Diamond Champions to mark the outstanding contribution they make to the lives of others. The compassion and commitment of all 12 was celebrated at a Daily Express supported reception hosted by the Duchess of Cornwall at Lancaster House, London. Amongst the winners was our wonderful Nightstop Devon Host, Valerie Blackmore.

Valerie has been an incredible volunteer for Nightstop Devon and has touched the lives of every young person that has walked through her door. Nightstop hosts open up their homes and provide a bed for the night to homeless young people aged 16-25. Most young people who use the service are homeless after falling out with their family and are usually feeling very low, and scared about going to stay with a stranger. As an example of how valuable Valerie has been, in the April to June period, she hosted 12 different young people for a total of 38 nights.

A 20 year old lad who stayed four nights with her and was suffering from depression at the time told of how she had chatted to him for hours while he was in tears, and made him feel like he could find a way out of his situation. Sarah, aged 21 who stayed with Valerie, said: “Valerie is amazing (and I love her dog too)! Staying on Nightstop is so much better than I could have imagined, it feels like she’s my gran.” Simon, aged 22, said: “Valerie was really friendly and generous and very approachable. It was just incredibly welcoming.” Valerie’s warm manner, non-judgemental attitude, and willingness to host so often have been a massive help to the charity and to the young people she has housed. Her willingness, as an older, single lady, to take in homeless people to stay with her sets a great example to the wider community and she is an inspiration.


December: CHA launches new Pilot Project, Bay6: No fixed Abode. Not forgotten about

bay6 for web

Bay6 is an exciting new project of Communtiy Housing Aid about to launch across Devon and Torbay. It carries with it, one simple aspiration: To ensure that no-one leaving hospital has to sleep rough; be it on the streets, or in unsafe conditions. Working across Devon & Torbay, we will offer advice and assistance to patients who find themselves at risk of homelessness; and try and help resolve their housing issue. This project has the support of all local authorities, and a shared commitment to improve this often preventable situation. If you are working with a patient who doesn’t have somewhere safe to stay when they leave hospital, please get in touch.

01392 429294


gospel invite web

November 2013: CHA gets festive!

Community Housing Aid warmly invites you to the perfect way to wrap up your christmas shopping. In partnership with the lovely talented Sidmouth Gospel Choir, come and join us for some festive songs, refreshments and a gift wrapping service. All on behalf of Exeter’s leading homelessness charity. As the cold nights draw in, our services are needed more and more, so community support is vital to us.

Where: Salvation Army, Friars Gate, Exeter EX2 4AZ

When: 4-5.30pm, Sunday, 8th December 2013

Free admission for all




July 2013: Penny gears up to help homelessness!

Penny Clapham 2013Nightstop Devon host Penny Clapham, is preparing to swap her marathon running, for a marathon cycle ride next week, in order to raise awareness and funds for local charities, Nightstop Devon, and the Newton Abbot Community Transport Association.

To celebrate a BIG birthday, Penny Clapham is tackling a BIG cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats over two weeks in July 2013 to raise funds for her chosen charities. Nightstop Devon’s team of volunteer hosts have been providing a bed for the night to local homeless young people for over ten years, one night at a time. Penny, and her husband Tony, have been volunteer hosting in their Christow home since 2010. They have kept many vulnerable young people from sleeping on the streets, by offering a roof over their head, a warm meal, and a listening ear.

Penny says “I have been angling after doing this event for a couple of years now, so turning 65 this year, it seemed a good idea (at the time) It is my biggest challenge yet – biking from end to end to celebrate my 65th year and 30 years with my wonderful husband. I love raising money for local charities too, it really helps motivate me with physical challenges, and arduous training schedules”

Kt Banwell, Nightstop Project Worker, “ We want to wish Penny all the luck with her cycle ride next week. It is a fantastic personal challenge, and we are honoured to be your chosen charity. In this financial climate, Nightstop Devon relies on community support more than ever, in order to help us keep young people safe. Hope there is lots of cake at the finishing line!” To donate to Penny’s cause, please follow this link to her fundraising page: 


April-June 2013: Nightstop is thinking BIG as it launches it’s Bus campaign for volunteers

For the last 3 months, Nightstop Devon buses have been decorating the streets of Exeter and Devon. We have all been getting very excited at ND HQ at spotting them around the city, daily. We have had a great response from the adverts, with volunteer interest on the up. This couldn’t be better timing, as we are experiencing record numbers of referrals and bednights needed. June saw nearly 100 referrals, in one month alone. We are always on the look out for more volunteer hosts, so if you are interested, please get in touch on 01392 274853.



buses (1280x160)


March 2013: De Paul UK launches it’s Spare Room Appeal with Nightstop

spare roomDepaul UK launches its Spare Room Campaign in response to the dramatic rise in youth homelessness. The campaign sees Depaul UK team up with Nightstop schemes across the country to call on the 7.5 million households nationwide who have a spare room to consider making it available to a young homeless person.


Nightstop is a safety net to vulnerable young people at times of greatest need, when they are forced to leave home, most often due to family breakdown, and have no idea where to go. Last year, our network of Nightstops helped over 5,000 vulnerable young people and kept them from sleeping rough, sofa surfing, or in unsuitable accommodation and at risk of abuse. The use of spare rooms makes a huge positive difference to young people in crisis.


Sir Trevor McDonald, President of Depaul UK, said:
“Nightstop is a community response to a problem which is all too common in our community. This unique service is made possible by the generosity of inspirational people with a spare room and a desire to make a difference in a young person’s life.”


Watch the full video here Read all about it here


WG_SQUARErgb_-_use_on_websitesFebruary 2013: Wilkinson Grant choses Nightstop Devon as one of it’s charities for 2013

EXETER estate agency Wilkinson Grant & Co held its third annual charity reception at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

Guests enjoyed the first showing outside London of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition. The reception was the launch of Wilkinson Grant’s 2013 charities initiative, supporting 10 locally-run charities which were all represented at the event, and was also attended by clients and associates of the agency.

“This is the third year of our charities initiative and we are very pleased and privileged to lend our support to these very worthy causes,” said agency principal Roger Wilkinson.

“In these challenging economic times, it is more important than ever for local people to help those organisations which do such excellent and valuable work in our community.

“Each year we have used this event to help them get their message out there and to effect introductions to help in their fundraising efforts. Over the course of the year we help promote a different charity each month, advertising events, helping raise their profile, assist with fundraising and make a donation for any specific needs they might have at the time.”

This year’s chosen charities are Exeter Leukaemia Fund, Age UK Exeter, Hospiscare, Dream-a-way, Force, Headway Devon, Exeter Community Initiatives, Balloons, Stop Abuse For Everyone, Nightstop Devon.

Click here for the full story


john lewis2

January 2013: John Lewis choses Nightstop Devon for January

Nightstop Devon has been selected by John Lewis Exeter to be part of the next round of Community Matters starting on the 12th January. Along with two other local charities we will receive a percentage of the £3000 once the three months has passed, depending on how John Lewis customers disburse their tokens.

Happy shopping John Lewis fans!

Click here for the full story


december 2012: Nightstop Devon launches it’s online Christmas Appeal for Volunteers

xmas campaign

Nightstop Devon Christmas Volunteer Appeal 2012. 4 weeks. 4 young people. 4 stories. 4 voices. #volunteer4us

With support from the Exeter Board, this is the first of our initiatives to recruit more volunteers for our Crashpad scheme, a sister project of Nightstop. The concept is simple, 4 weeks and 4 young people. Learn the harsh truth about youth homlessness direct from the experieinces of young people that have stayed on Nightstop. Meet Jason, Mark, Charlie and hear how they Nightstop helped them at their most vulnerable.

One story per week will be launched throughout December on twitter and at the Picturehouse cinema in Exeter. So please follow us: @nightstopdevon

Kevin Hunter, Nightstop Coordinator says: “In the current economic situation, we’re seeing more and more young people who don’t know where they’ll be sleeping from one night to the next. Most young people who use our service have become homeless due to family breakdown. Crashpad can give these youngsters some stability and breathing space to help get their life back on track.”

Read the full story here


november 2012: Growing problem of homelessness across Exeter

HOMELESSNESS is a major issue in Exeter, according to charities and politicians.

The number of people on the waiting list for a home has soared, and homeless organisations in Exeter say they are seeing record numbers of rough sleepers coming through their doors. The Echo highlighted the issue earlier this year, after figures revealed to us by the city council in a Freedom of Information request showed the number of people waiting for a house had increased by more than half in the past five years.

Read more here


november 2012: A sleeping bag application leads to £5,000 grant from the Exeter Board.

What initially started as a bit of a creative dare, soon led to a successful grant from the Exeter County Councillors. Instead of a paper application, Kt Banwell, publicity coordinator for Community Housing Aid, designed a bespoke application in the shape of a paper sleeping bag to the Councillors, in a bid to catch their attention. It worked in securing a very generous £5,000 to develop Nightstop’s Crashpad project in 2013. Crashpad is an extension of Nightstop that offers longer term placements for young people of two weeks at a time.

The Exeter Board, comprises Exeter’s nine Devon County Councillors and five members of Exeter City Council. It has a Community Grant fund of £99,000 for 2012/13. This joint fund will enable Councillors to respond to local needs across the City and support projects of activities for the benefit of communities they represent.

Read the full story here


October 2012: The Exeter Community comes together for the Nightstop Devon 7 Appeal

 Click on the newsletter to read all about how the Exeter community and beyond came together to raise over £2,000 for Nightstop Devon.

With the number seven rhyming with Devon perfectly, the idea was set, and the Nightstop Devon Seven Appeal was conceptualised. Across a designated seven days, much needed awareness and funds were raised towards youth homelessness across Devon.

With community at the centre of the campaign, a magic seven businesses and projects came onboard to support the cause through some brilliant events across the week of the 1st-7th October.






A week of events is kicking off on October 1st to raise awareness and funds for local charity project Nightstop Devon. Nightstop Devon’s team of volunteer hosts have been providing a bed for the night to local homeless young people for over ten years.

Titled The Devon 7 Appeal, local businesses including the Plant Café, The Handmade Arcade, the Bike Shed Theatre and Waitrose are already supporting the campaign. The Plant will be serving a sponsored coffee, and the Bike Shed will be creating a unique cocktail for the week. Other events include a sponsored pub quiz and raffle at the Bowling Green on Sunday 7th October and a stall on the Fore St  Handmade Arcade on

Saturday 6th. We also have runners embracing the 10 mile Teign Valley Toddle on the 7th, so If people are unable to attend any of these events, but wish to donate to the Appeal, they can now donate £5 by texting “NITE10  £5” TO 70070.

 Nightstop coordinator Kevin Hunter said “We’re really excited about the appeal and the support that the local community is showing. It’s the first time we’ve organised something on this scale and we hope that the funds and interest that the appeal generates will help secure our future.  The current economic situation is putting increasing pressure on families and individuals and this is resulting in increasing levels of homelessness for young people, especially through family breakdown. It is vital that Nightstop Devon continues to exist, to ensure that none of these youngsters end up having to spend a night on the street and face all the risks that go along with that”

Plant co-owner Polly Barnes added “Me, Abi and Hannah at Plant are delighted to be supporting this great local project. We feel that local is the core of what we do. People often get disillusioned by giving money to homeless people as you can never be sure where the money goes. This way, you know that your money is making a difference, a simple but powerful one. So come and grab a coffee!”

[Pictured: Justine Bock, Technical Manager of The Bikeshed Theatre]


December 2011: Nightstop Devon wins the Guardian Charity of the Year 2011.

15/12/11 Sam Friedrich tel: 07977 482 272 Guardian Charity Awards 2011 at The Guardian Offices, Kings Place, London. - Nightstop Devon (L-R) Caroline Deihl, Sue Inglis, Stuart Hooper, Kevin Hunter & Johnathan Pryce

We are delighted to be able to announce that Nightstop Devon have been awarded the Guardian Newspaper Charity of the Year Award for 2011. One thousand charities entered the awards this year so for Nightstop to win is great recognition for the local voluntary sector as a whole.

Judges included actress Jane Asher, Dame Suzi Leather (head of the charity commission), Baroness Howarth of Breckland OBE and Lynne Berry OBE, associate of Civil Exchange. Prizes include £6,000 and tailored packages of support from the Media Trust and the Foundation for Social Improvement. Dame Suzi Leather said “Nightstop Devon is an absolutely brilliant project and we wanted to recognise the fantastic match of public generosity for this really vulnerable group of people”

Nightstop aims to provide the practical support that vulnerable young people need at this crisis point. This helps to ensure that they do not get sucked in to a cycle of rough sleeping and the increased risk of mental and physical health problems, isolation, drug and alcohol use and crime that being homeless can bring. In the last year, Nightstop arranged over 500 Nightstop placements for 171 young people in the local area.

Nightstop Devon staff and volunteers attended the Awards Ceremony at the Guardian offices on Thursday December 15th, where they were presented the award by actor Jonathon Pryce. Kevin Hunter, Nightstop Project Coordinator, said “We are all very proud to have won this award. It is recognition of the amazing work our volunteers have done over the last 10 years. Our referrals have more than doubled over the last few years, and with increased financial pressures on families and individuals, we are expecting this trend to continue in the coming year. Winning this national award is also a reflection of the important role the voluntary sector plays in the South West. Small charity projects like Nightstop Devon work with marginalised young people and show that issues such as homelessness and poverty unfortunately exist in Devon as much as they do anywhere else in the country”

Nightstop have a number of hosts in the Exeter area. Volunteer hosts Ken and Iain from Exeter said “We have been hosting for Nightstop for over nine years. We have found the young people grateful and pleasant, almost without exception. The most memorable was a young woman who made a tiny bird for us before our very eyes from a sheet of paper. It is, she told us, an Asian symbol of hospitality. It was a moving gesture and we still have it years on.”

‘Julie’ a 19-year old who has stayed on Nightstop, said ““I can’t believe that people actually volunteer to take in people like me. I think the people who do this are wonderful. I’d like to help people like this when I’m older. If it hadn’t been for Nightstop, I don’t know where I’d be now”


 October 2011: Told:Retold, Nightstop Devon turns 10 in theatrical style.

There couldn’t have been a more fitting way to celebrate 10 years of Nightstop Devon than with a sell out show devised by young people that have found themselves struggling with their housing situations. As the workshops drew to a close,the innovative play  Told:Retold was born within a week to the celebrations.


The Bikeshed Theatre Exeter was to be the venue. Directed by Katie Villa and Liz Pennington, managed by Justine Bock, and expertly  acted by Chloe Whipple and Joe Sellman-Leava, TOLD:RETOLD aimed to be a challenging and energetic new work devised from the stories of young autobiographical writers from Exeter Foyer and Nightstop. A box of stories is opened on stage; hidden lives and defining mo

ments are revealed. TOLD first hand, RETOLD on stage by actors.

“I enjoyed being part of Told:Retold very much, the final production was AMAZING, I just loved the way they transitioned fr

om one story to another!” [Oliver, 13]

“I carried out the 3 writing tasks that were given to me by Nightstop for the told retold performance, and sent them off in the post. Being a keen writer anyways I very much enjoyed these tasks and found them to be fun and a good opportunity to be creative. I was pleased and impressed with the performance and in particular the way that they performed my work and integrated it into the other contributors work.” [Martyn, 21]

“The two young actors were very animated and their facial expressions were great. The play was very poignant in places but interlaced with humour which prevented what could have been something very depressing into an hour of entertainment. It did, however, make you think and brought a lump to my throat in places. Not usually my thing, alternative theatre, but this was very well done.”[Nightstop Driver]



 We are still looking for eager jumpers in 2012

big jump out








July 2011: Rentshield Direct Sleepout, Teignmouth.

rentshield sleepout (1280x941)

Nightstop Devon have been given a £2,500 boost. It comes thanks to staff of our corporate sponsor Rentshield Direct who slept rough for a night. The 19 employees had just sleeping bags and cardboard boxes to protect them and it is estimated that the event raised around £1,250 which will be doubled to £2,500 by Rentshield Direct’s parent company Barbon Insurance Group.

Click here for the Rentshield Sleepout Full Story


Lucrative Plastic Ducks! Sidmouth Lions Club. Sidmouth, Sunday 17th July 2011

duck montage (1280x480)

Click here for the Sidmouth Lions Club Duck Derby Full Story





And so the setting was complete, cardboard box floors and shelters everywhere, tarpaulin roofs, and those hardier armed only with a sleeping bag and woolly hat. The Exeter Big SleepOut attracted 33 brave rough sleepers ranging from those in their early teens to those in their eighties, willing to sleep rough on a cold October evening. The event was a wonderful success, with not one drop of rain. Everyone was treated to board games and lovely food, courtesy of the Ivy Project, so a BIG thank you to the master chefs in the kitchen. Collectively the event has made in excess of £2,000, nearly the £3,000 mark, which is just superb and will go a long way in expanding the Nightstop Devon services. The raised funds will be used to enable us to extend our Crashpad services to a wider audience. Crashpad offers 2 week placements in hosting households, but we aim to be able to also offer this service to young people with mental health issues, and young mothers and babies. This process will include a recruitment push of new volunteers, and it is great to be able to add to the potential of this happening by the funds raised on the night of the SleepOut. I hope the event raised some awareness around the issue of homelessness, and indeed gave some insight into what it is like to sleep rough. A massive thank you to everybody involved who helped make it happen, but indeed to those that made the evening so enjoyable.


June 2008: Charity for homeless wins grant

Logo - LTSB Foundation Original

A charity which helps homeless people find a place to live has been awarded a £30,000 grant. The Exeter Homelessness Action Group (EHAG) has been given the money towards its Smartmove project, which helps vulnerable people across Exeter.The community programme grant has been made by the Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales. From its offices in Exeter city centre, EHAG has been offering housing advice and support for more than 15 years.

It runs an emergency overnight accommodation service for young people, an advice helpline and outreach surgery and a support service for ex-offenders in need of housing after prison. It also provides a deposit guarantee for people on low incomes and continuous tenancy support. Its Smartmove project creates sustainable tenancies in the private rented sector and works with landlords to help them manage problems they may encounter with vulnerable tenants, without resorting to eviction. EHAG director Jacqui Gale said the beneficiaries of the grant would be diverse.

She said: “Homelessness does not only mean those people we see sleeping on the streets.
“Smartmove works with a broad range of groups who find access to rented accommodation unaffordable: young people moving on from supported housing or leaving care, single parent families, ex-offenders, sofa-surfers and those on low incomes who simply can’t afford a deposit, plus a month’s rent.”


April 2008:  Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw has been to visit a homeless charity in the city


Mr Bradshaw spoke to all 11 members of staff at Exeter Homeless Action Group in Palace Gate and two of the young people it is helping.

Director Jacqui Gale, said: “Mr Bradshaw was interested to hear their stories and, likewise, they were keen to talk to their MP. We also had beneficiaries there, along with three trustees.

“He was very understanding. We discussed various issues, including youth homelessness and family breakdowns. He agreed to come along because we do a lot of work to tackle homelessness in Exeter and he was really interested in seeing how we work. We help people in so many ways.

“It was a positive meeting and he has offered to work more closely with us, which we are looking forward to.”

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