The column where YOU sound off about the issues that matter to you

PUBLISHED: 14:31 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:38 25 August 2010

Esther Wanjie is a homelessness prevention worker at Greenwich and Lewisham Nightstop

We were all young once. So what's our problem with today's young people? Creative, intelligent and energetic, yet often portrayed as if they are as big a problem to our culture as pollution is to the ozone layer.

At Greenwich and Lewisham Nightstop, we believe a troubled background can mean a successful life. Sounds like a contradiction? A past that has included participating in taking drugs, anti-social behaviour and crime can seem to be an entirely negative thing. Many lives - young and old - have been marred because of these aspects of society.

However, young people can overcome such experiences and grow particularly strong, determined, empathetic, committed and inspiring as a result of their history. For this to happen, young people need and deserve positive input to their lives.

Greenwich and Lewisham Nightstop is a source of compassion for young people, compassion that is demonstrated in practical ways. Contrary to myths that there are vast quantities of support available for young people, Nightstop staff find that many young people become homeless and are left without enough support to deal with difficult situations.

Nightstop aims to empower young people, by offering those who are homeless a place to stay for the night in the home of an ordinary adult in the community, who has a spare room in their home.

This experience of unconditional kindness and care at a crisis time affirms to young people that they are valuable, have potential and that their struggle to thrive is worth it. Information, guidance and encouragement are given to homeless young people and young people who may become homeless or suffer in other ways without such support.

Greenwich and Lewisham Nightstop is a charity, affiliated to Youthreach, which offers counselling to young people. Nightstop's work is only made possible by several volunteers, including those who host young people to stay in their home for a night.

Our volunteers remember that they were young once. They understand that a crisis isn't always someone's fault. They choose to take responsibility for the fact that, while they have more than what they need, an important, talented person has unmet needs. And they are uniquely rewarded by knowing that, through their generosity, someone knows they are loved.

If you have time, space or money to support Greenwich and Lewisham Nightstop, please contact Isabel on 020 8269 2200 or isabeln@youth For more details about homelessness prevention work, contact Esther at 020 8269 2200 or


Latest Bexley news

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A man who ran over two elderly women with his electric wheelchair was sentenced on Friday, November 16 at Southwark Crown Court.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Christmas 2018 and the Northern Lights are welcomed to Bexleyheath on Saturday, November 17 with a spectacular mix of music and dance from stilt walkers to bhangra dancers, and acoustic artists to fire shows.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Now back from recording the second series of All Together Now, Brit School teacher and Bromley local Georg Tormann is now warming up for Christmas with his Beckenham-based choir.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Bexley artist has raised her concerns that a revamp of Hall Place will see the death of the art scene in the area.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wildlife enthusiasts are calling for “embarrassing” fly-tipping that is blighting marshland in Bexley to be cleared up.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas expressed concerns that an energy park in Bexley will lead to “toxic fumes” billowing across the Thames to the Rainham and Beam Park development area.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Bexleyheath pub will be offering free gin and tonic today, in exchange for a very unusual currency - cake.

Most read news

Digital Edition

Read the Bexley Times e-edition today

Newsletter Sign Up

Bexley Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24