A new multi-agency initiative has been launched to help look after vulnerable people on nights out in Weymouth, taking pressure off the ambulance service and A&E wards.
The Safe Space project ensures that people have a safe place to go when they are vulnerable or unable to get back to their accommodation. The Safe Space can help with:
- Physical injury or illness
- Concerned for your or someone’s safety
- Alcohol or drug misuse
- A victim of alleged crime
- People separated from their friends
- Emotional distress.
The Safe Space volunteers will look after visitors in a warm and friendly environment, providing treatment, support, or simply somewhere secure to sober up, before ensuring that they get home safely and without incident.
Based at St Marys’ Church on St. Mary Street in Weymouth town centre, it is anticipated that the Safe Space will operate on Friday and Saturday evenings from 23 July 2021 for an initial period of 6 weeks, open from 8pm until 3am during the summer period.
Partners involved are:
- Dorset Council – Provides funding for use of the venue, security and medical care. Will also provide two security operators, and promotional materials
- Dorset Police – Manages and deploys Police Volunteers to assist with providing support at Safe Space. They will assist members of the public and staff as required. The volunteers will also maintain accurate records of usage of Safe Space
- Weymouth Town Council – Provides equipment, lighting and chairs
- St Marys’ Church – Provided the site location, including the car park area which can be accessed from Maiden Street
- Weymouth Street Pastors – Will attend Safe Space throughout the duration of their shifts and signpost/bring persons in need to the facility
- Acute Medical Care – Will provide medical support to the Safe Space, including two members of suitably trained personnel from a cadre of Paramedics, Technicians and First Aiders.
Cllr Jill Haynes, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Customer and Community Services, told KeeP 106: “Like any busy resort over the summer, Weymouth sees its fair share of night-time visitors who may need support. The Safe Space will provide a great place for vulnerable people to go for help, rather than take a risk and potentially not make it home safely. I’d like to thank our partners for setting up this initiative, especially as we recover from the pandemic and have even higher numbers of visitors to Dorset than usual.”
Weymouth and Portland Neighbourhood Inspector David Parr said: “I am very grateful to everyone involved with Safe Space. This project has created a coordinated partnership approach to reducing vulnerability and making the night-time economy safer and more enjoyable for all. A range of services will be available from medical aid for people who are ill or injured to support for victims of crime. For some, it can just be used as a safe space to wait for a lift home.
Safe Space is a key part of our plan to make our town and its vibrant and diverse night-time economy safer. Using this partnership approach, we are also planning on investing in further training for people working in this sector and having dedicated visible patrols in town to provide an additional awareness and recognition of vulnerability.”
Safe Space coordinator Police Constable Anneka Stone told KeeP 106: “I am excited for the launch of Safe Space in Weymouth and believe that it will have a positive impact for people living and visiting Weymouth throughout the summer. Developing this project with our partner agencies has been a fulfilling challenge for me. The organisations involved have all strived to achieve the same goal, which is providing a new initiative for the safety of people enjoying a night out in Weymouth.”