The Nightsafe story began in Blackburn 30 years ago in 1987 when the plight of young people who were sleeping on the streets, sofa surfing was identified by a group of committed youth workers and local politicians.
In the early spring of 1987, a meeting of the District Youth Committee was held at Fuse Box, Jubilee St. As Edna Arnold, John Mason and Julian Dunn parked and walked down George St, three young people were in the skip beneath the loading bay of the carpet shop on Darwen St. It was clear they were sleeping there.
The group raised the issue at the meeting and, realising that unless this basic need for secure housing was met, the young people would struggle to reach their potential. A working group was formed, led by John Mason in his professional capacity as a local youth work manager. Julian Dunn from Action Factory Arts Association was a key member and Edna Arnold, a local councillor, provided the political clout to get things moving.
The working party moved into action and in September 1988 Kathy Murray (Ashworth) came on a long student placement from St Martin’s College to provide additional impetus. She continued to work for the project as a Development Worker during the next 2 years, employed by Lancashire County Council. Her tutor, John Patten, was also recruited to the working group.
Paula Kaniuk worked for the Youth and Community Service and joined the working group in 1989. Funding for developing the project was sourced direct from the Youth and Community Service.
However, there was an urgency to the applications for Company and Charitable status to enable funding applications. Once all the pieces of the jigsaw were falling into place Nightsafe was incorporated as a company in July 1990 with Paula Kanuick appointed as full time Manger of the project. Nightsafe became a Charity in February 1991. Edna Arnold, who already played the key role with the Borough and County Council was appointed the Chair.
Kathy’s first major success was a large grant of £36,000 from Comic Relief which funded the purchase, refurbishment and furnishing of the house on Bridge Street, which became our first Night Shelter.
The trustees and staff have changed over the 30 years, but their dedication and commitment have never altered.