The Centrepoint Young and Homeless Helpline: How it will work

‘The service could be as big as Childline’

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The Independent Online

The Centrepoint Young and Homeless Helpline would provide a vital new service, delivering information to some of our most vulnerable young people.

“Right now across the country, 150,000 young people approach councils every year asking for help because they are either homeless or they are at the point of homelessness,” says Seyi Obakin, Centrepoint’s chief executive. 

“Many are turned away with little or no support, and many others don't know where to go. That is where the helpline will come in. There is absolutely nothing in the country that will give information to young people like it.”

There is currently no national service to give advice and information to  homeless young people. Homelessness is a complex issue, and helping young people can be far from simple. 

They can find themselves passed from pillar to post, depending on their situation what provision is available in their area, youth homeless experts warn. But this complexity is no reason not to act.

The aim of the appeal to ensure that, from February, there will be a Freephone number that anyone can access, where they will talk to an advice worker and be linked to the most appropriate services, including support from our partners. 

The helpline will enable people aged between 16 and 25 to get the support they are entitled to at the earliest opportunity

Through the generosity of you, our readers, this will then rapidly be expanded to include SMS, live webchat and other forms of digital communication. 

The line will enable those aged between 16 and 25 for the first time ever to secure the support they are entitled to at the earliest opportunity, reducing the risk of harm and increasing the potential for positive outcomes. 

It could mean putting them through to the local council, or directing them to a night shelter.

Alternatively, the helpline could connect them to support in their area: anything from food banks to day centres to temporary accommodation, hostels or low-cost accommodation.

Teenagers enjoy a Christmas lunch thanks to Centrepoint

“I think it can be as big as Childline,” says Matt Carlisle, Centrepoint's regional manager for central and west London. “It's going to be massive: a lifeline for vulnerable young people.”

This is why The Independent is determined – with your help – to make the helpline a reality so that, at the most desperate time in their lives, young people have somewhere to turn, and a comforting voice to talk to, so that they get the help they need, when they need it.


How to donate to The Independent’s Christmas Appeal

The Independent’s Homeless Helpline appeal is raising money for the Centrepoint Helpline, a brand new support service that will save young people from ending up on the streets. 

To donate you can: 

0300 330 2731

HOME66 £5 to 70070

40-42 Phoenix Court
Hawkins Road

Go online​