Socks_dreamstime_s_50993005Be Prepared!

As a Nightstop host, you have to be prepared for your guest. A bed with fresh sheets, a towel, some toiletries… so far so obvious. I also lay out a tray with a juice carton, some crisps and a chocolate bar or biscuits. That way, I know that my guest has something to munch on later in the evening, or they can take the snacks with them for the next day.

Now the less obvious stuff: a pair of pyjamas (there’s a male and female version, both with checked pants and a cosy t-shirt top – more loungewear than sleepwear, I’d say!) and slippers, because our downstairs floors can be very cold. Every guest so far has gladly accepted the offer of being able to slip into something more comfy at the end of an often exhausting day. (One guest last year left with the pair of pjs in their bag. He clearly liked them very much.) Being able to change into pyjamas definitely helps the young person to feel more relaxed and at ease.

But the best thing – and I only thought of this a few months ago – has been the offer of a pair of socks to wear and keep. So I’ve stocked up on socks and they are being snapped up like hot cakes. It’s such a small gesture, and it doesn’t cost the earth either thanks to Poundland and Lidl’s offerings, but it makes a big difference to my guests.

When I hosted a young woman recently who arrived with absolutely nothing, just the clothes on her back (and barefoot in her trainers by the way), I was glad she was able to leave the next morning with new socks on her feet, and a small bag containing the toothbrush and other toiletries I had laid out for her. Didn’t help sort out her life – just maybe made it a little bit easier for her to face the next day.

Hello Stranger is a monthly blog post by a Bristol Nightstop Host.