Safe haven launched for Yarmouth clubbers
By Keith Morris
Christian agencies have teamed up with the local NHS Trust and the Police to provide a safe late-night haven for clubbers, holidaymakers and vulnerable people in Great Yarmouth
The "Nightsafe Haven" caravan was launched over the bank holiday weekend as part of a collaborative project to provide a late-night space where anyone who may need help or first aid can go.
It was a working together of all night-time economy agencies; St John's Ambulance provided the first aid, YMCA Norfolk were co-ordinating, the Matthew Project had their caravan there and Street Pastors (pictured right) patrolled the streets on both Friday and Saturday nights.
The whole project started out from Park Baptist Church and the work base was the car park opposite the Empire, where people will be able to go if they want advice around drug or alcohol use and any other health information.
Health bosses at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney have pledged up to £25,000 to launch the pilot project, which will run on Friday and Saturday night from 11pm to 4am, with the aim of returning at Christmas.
Allison Chaplin, commissioning manager for substance misuse and sexual health at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: "The aim of the project is to offer a place of safety and first aid to any individual in difficulty while out in Yarmouth.
"The Primary Care Trust has funded the project in the hope of reducing hospital admission rates related to alcohol use. We are also concerned about young people binge-drinking and making themselves vulnerable and at risk of theft or attack."
Street Pastor, Isabel Minister, said: “What was successful was how we worked together as a team, bearing in mind how most of us had never done it before. It was a golden opportunity to make initial contact with many agencies including the police, doormen, taxi drivers, food outlets as well as the general public. Very few holidaymakers were out. Those that we did make contact with included skateboarders behind the Pizza Hut and people outside the Crown.
“As a first outing this was a successful evening as it gave us the opportunity for introductions and building bridges. I trust that the Lord will give us more practical opportunities for us to do his work in future.”