“I think that Nightsafe is a true blessing for the region of Blackburn and Darwen for so many young people trying to get on the right track again.”
Sebastian Gussner, a 19-year-old high school leaver from Halle, Germany, volunteered at Nightsafe during his gap year.
He said: “Most of the young people I worked with had a very different background to me. Some had suffered drug addiction, family disputes and mental illness. They had experienced difficult periods throughout their youth so I tried to support them as best as I could. Nightsafe was a vital support to them and I'm proud to say that I was a part of that.
“I helped on two projects – the Night Shelter and the Witton Project. As volunteers, we were responsible for night duties and our main tasks were to welcome new young people and develop rapport with them by playing cards, watching movies together or cooking together. In the morning, we cleaned the shelter to keep it somewhere people would want to come and feel welcome.”
Sebastian said he wanted to help other young people and develop his own skills.
“In the 6 months at Nightsafe, I developed my communication skills and team working. I also became more independent, as I was living with two fellow volunteers. My cooking has improved a lot!”
Sebastian's best moments were when he spent time with co-workers and the young people from Nightsafe.
He said that his placement at Nightsafe has given him increased confidence in his language skills – and has led to him applying for an English and physical education degree in Germany with plans to become a teacher.
He added: “It would be impossible to list all the highlights of my placement, but the best moments were when we spent time with our co-workers and the young people from Nightsafe. We really enjoyed going for meals or playing football, table tennis or pool together.
“I would recommend a volunteering experience to anyone. It'll help you develop important life skills whilst helping others in need. I am really thankful for all the experiences I had and the great people I met. Co-workers and co-volunteers welcome you with open arms and Blackburn will soon feel like home to you.”
Without the help of our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. Thank you to all our #NightsafeHeroes.