Nite Light and their journey
Everyone deserves the basic essentials in life regardless of their circumstances. Our aim is to increase health and wellbeing by providing basic essentials free of charge, in turn reducing poverty.
Our mission is to reach as many people as possible providing food, drinks, clothing, hygiene essentials and household items to help them live daily. To work as a community, for the community by providing volunteering opportunities and upskilling often bridging the gap between unemployed and employed.
Nite Light run a digital pay forward service specifically for people who are homeless. It offers a cashless aid where members of the public who want to help but don’t know how can purchase a meal, snack, drink or hygiene bag from our website and choose the area they want to support. Plastic cards are distributed to service users who can exchange them in our local partnered cafes and bistros. The service is one of a kind, innovative and works providing people who are homeless with basic essentials whilst reducing begging and supporting our local family run businesses.
Nite Light run free market stalls, on the streets throughout the Tees Valley. This offers a really relaxed, welcoming environment for those facing poverty to access free essentials from food and hygiene essentials to clothing and small household items. No appointments are needed and no judgment made, we often converse and sign post people for further support whether that be housing, benefits, counselling, warm spaces etc.
Nite Light provide hygiene bags for men, women and children by running specific events to distribute and also drop off stocks to other organisations to pass to their service users.
Street walks are carried out to engage with people who are homeless to ensure they have the essentials needed to make life a little more bearable from sleeping bags, tents and duvets to food and hygiene essentials. The team are also Naloxone trained and can provide clean needles and foils if necessary to help prevent overdose deaths.
We have become the ‘go to’ place for lots of housing and public health organisations to help their service users with clothing and hygiene essentials as well as providing household items for people moving into temporary or permanent accommodation. There are some people who turn up in the clothes they have on so we provide kettles, crockery, cutlery, towels, bedding, food, pictures, rugs etc. to help them make a start.
Any items that are donated to us are distributed free of charge to those who need them, basically recycling items that people don’t want.
One of many highlights is making connections with members of our community and knowing that the support and conversation, a kind word or a smile makes such a difference and helps to increase the health and wellbeing of individuals. We often receive heart warming feedback from individuals thanking us for help, this keeps us going, working outside in all weathers to continue support.
Another is watching our volunteers grow within themselves – we have had a few volunteers start with us who have lived experience of homelessness, depression, anxiety etc. To see them grow in confidence, upskill and make new friends is just wonderful, the shyness disappears and they have become different people to when they first started with us.
Wining awards portray achievement in that we are being noticed for the good work we are doing in the community. Awards bring recognition to the team but also vital connections with other organisations to promote collaborative working. Nite Light have been very fortunate to have won numerous community awards from The Small Awards – Heart of Gold, FSB – Community Award and most recently a Point of Light Award from the Prime Minister.
Working in partnership
We have worked with Catalyst since Nite Light begun and all communication has been positive and has helped. The Catalyst Newsletter is fantastic, very informative and points us in the direction of much needed funding, other organisations to work with and awareness of other help and support in the area which we can pass on to our service users. We were extremely grateful to be part of the Catalyst Awards and we have been supported with funding to increase our services.