An actress who starred in BBC drama Line of Duty has been working with homeless young people in North Yorkshire, a decade after she was homeless herself.
Taj Atwal, who also appeared in Kay Mellor series In The Club and is set to star in Channel 5 psychological drama Cold Call later this year, ran a workshop with young people at SASH, a homelessness charity that supported her as a teenager.
Miss Atwal had to leave home at 16 and lived with SASH volunteer “hosts” for two years until she left York to go to the Guildford School of Acting.
She is writing a play, Paradise Fields, based on her own story about a teenager who could not live at home.
She said: “As you’re walking about in York, you think how beautiful it is, but if you peel back the layers, there is suffering within these young people. Through the play I want to get rid of this misconception that many people have of what it’s like to be homeless. I want to make people aware that homelessness doesn’t just mean a sleeping bag on the street.”
SASH (Safe and Sound Homes) helps 16-25 year olds avoid homelessness across North and East Yorkshire, by offering a place to stay in the homes of 90 volunteer hosts, keeping them safe at a time of crisis. However, it urgently needs more.
Operations manager Adele Coupe said: “Our hosts are wonderful people and Taj’s story is testament to the impact that they can have on a young person at a time of great need. SASH is currently seeking to recruit more hosts to help meet demand for its services. They are people of all ages and different life stages. Hosting with SASH can be flexible around your existing commitments and we provide full training, ongoing support as well as small financial benefits. If you have a spare room and would like to help, please do get in touch.”