Sometimes the last stop is First Stop


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For over 10 years First Stop has been opening its doors and its heart to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. We have a wide variety of services to help the homeless people in Darlington get back on their feet.

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Welcome to First Stop

First Stop Darlington has been established in the town since its inception in 1999 and is a response to homelessness and people who are at risk of becoming homeless and for those who suffer chronic exclusion within the area.

What does First Stop Do?

The charity provides a range of services to support people from all walks of life who may be experiencing a variety of difficulties which has or can lead to homelessness.  This ranges from people who just need a bit of friendly advice and information to help them move forward when they are unsure where to go to ask for the right help, all the way through to people who are in crisis and living complex and chaotic lifestyles and need long term support and specialist intervention to begin the journey to independence.

What type of services do we mean?

There are a range of leaflets that explain some of our services in further detail but below is a summary of our Drop-in service and an overview of all the other services.

Drop-in Information, Advice, Guidance and Support

Every day First Stop Darlington opens its doors at 9am and provides a drop-in service for anyone that needs support with their problems, information to help them make decisions, advice and guidance on the varying choices and consequences that may happen dependent on their actions.

In real terms, this is the front facing core service within the charity and is the way that we meet most of our clients.  We are in the centre of town, have easy access for people with disabilities and are available without an appointment and usually without a long wait.  This is where we first begin the journey of getting to know each person and building the trust between the client and the charity. 

We cover a range of topics such as:




Family breakdown

Relationship breakdown

Mental health and ill-health

Sexual health

Addictions in all its guises

Money problems

Money management

Offending behaviour


Personal hygiene

Access to showers/laundry


It is in building this relationship of trust that people’s real life journeys begin to unfold and the support worker can begin to unravel all the twists and turns that has led them through our door and help the individual see that they are not unsurmountable and can be broken down into bite size chunks.  This helps to take away some of the fear and can bring a sense of purpose and a plan of action for many.

For some, the chaos and difficulties have led to crisis on a number of occasions and their journey will begin with the encouragement and support to attend appointments with specialist services that will help address their entrenched problems.  The team work very closely with a range of specialist services and this helps to smooth away some of the fears or reluctance that people may have in attending and addressing certain issues.  Some of this group of people will go on to be supported by our Multiple Complex Needs, in-depth support service.

Youth Homeless Prevention Service

This service provides one to one support for young people who are no longer able to live with family or are at risk of losing their home.  This service also provides some activities that are designed to address self-worth, self- confidence and bring a sense of accomplishment for the young person.  Currently this is done through “Final Verse” and “Football Tournaments”.

Women’s Services

There is a need to provide services to women in a safe environment where they are able to speak freely and to gain support from each other as well as individual support from our Female Lead.

Pre-Employment Activities and Training

We provide a range of activities and opportunities throughout each week for people to address their employability, increase their confidence and self-worth and to gain skills to improve their prospects as they journey towards independence.

Intensive Support Service

Intensive support is required for those who have multiple complex needs and a history of neglect, self-neglect, abuse, mental ill health and a range of difficulties and life events that have resulted in their current complex situations.  This is long-term support using a personalisation approach addressing each person with an individual approach that helps them to trust and accept support from their First Stop worker.