The national initiative designed to make the evening and night time economy safer and more welcoming for visitors will be in the city centre for three additional days over the Christmas period
The group behind Chester’s Safe Space scheme have announced that the mobile welfare unit offering support to the city’s night-time economy will be making extra appearances on the high street throughout December.
Each Saturday night for the past two months, the facility has been situated in the pedestrianised area of Foregate Street, helping night-time revellers stay safe whilst reducing pressure on local emergency services.
Following its successful launch, three new dates have been added during December that will see the unit providing more support to people over the festive season, on top of the regular Saturday night slot between 10 pm and 4.30am. These are Friday, December 14; Monday, December 17 – a busy Christmas student night, and Friday, December 21.
Chester’s Safe Space project was brought to the city by the groups behind Chester’s successful Purple Flag award earlier this year – CH1ChesterBID, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Chester Against Business Crime, The University of Chester, Cheshire Police, Chester Pubwatch and Chester’s Street Pastors.
Nick White, City Centre Manager at CH1ChesterBID, said: “Chester’s Safe Space may only be two months old but we’re delighted with the positive impact it’s having on our night-time economy already.
“It’s a highly successful national initiative and the big reason for bringing it to Chester was to continue building on all the work we and our city centre partners have done as part of our Purple Flag award.
“Adding these new dates in the run up until Christmas – which is always a busy time for night-time economies across the country – is a testament to the work of everyone involved in the scheme. Our Safe Space is helping to cement Chester’s reputation as a safe and enjoyable place to enjoy a night out, which is exactly why we wanted to bring it to the city centre.”
Chester’s Safe Space is being overseen by Chester Against Business Crime with medical technicians, volunteers and security staff all working from the facility and actively supporting those in need of support or first aid treatment at night time.
The scheme has been funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council and similar projects are running successfully in 55 cities and major towns in the UK.
Research has suggested that areas with a Safe Space save up to £9.31 for every £1 invested through reduced admissions to A&E and by easing pressure on police and ambulance services.
Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing at Cheshire West and Chester Council, Councillor Louise Gittins, said: “We’re very pleased to announce these new dates as we countdown to Christmas and we’re delighted with the positive feedback we’ve had through the Safe Space scheme so far.
“We are working closely with our key partners to create a safer city centre for everyone and Safe Space is a key element of a comprehensive strategy to support Chester’s night-time economy, alongside our ‘Drink Less Enjoy More’ campaign and the ‘Blue Light project.’
“The run-up to Christmas will inevitably see more people enjoying the city centre’s night time economy and we absolutely want people to have a great time when they’re in Chester.
“But they can do so safe in the knowledge that the Safe Space team is there should they need support, and that the volunteers will also be on hand to help keep others safe, look after vulnerable people and create a city centre environment for everyone to enjoy.”
The Safe Space unit will not be in operation on Saturday, December 29, or Monday, December 31 but will return to its usual Saturday service from January 2019.
For more information about Chester’s Safe Space and to find out more about becoming a volunteer for the service, please email the Safe Space team on [email protected]