New bus a safety net for revellers
A NEW �25,000 project to prevent unnecessary alcohol-related hospital admissions on a Friday night will be launched in Lowestoft this week.A Night Safe Haven bus will be parked on the Royal Plain every Friday for the next 22 weeks, with the aim of providing a safety net for anyone who needs help, information, or medical assistance.
A NEW �25,000 project to prevent unnecessary alcohol-related hospital admissions on a Friday night will be launched in Lowestoft this week.
A Night Safe Haven bus will be parked on the Royal Plain every Friday for the next 22 weeks, with the aim of providing a safety net for anyone who needs help, information, or medical assistance. Between 9pm and 3am, first-aiders and volunteers will be on hand to assist at the base near the South Pier.
The pilot project, managed by St John Ambulance, was funded by NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
It is hoped that as well as providing support to those out in the town, it will relieve pressure on A&E department at the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH),at Gorleston.
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Figures from the JPUH show that between April last year and March this year, staff treated 615 people for alcohol-related injuries - a rise on 576 in the previous 12 months.
But since the launch of a similar project in Great Yarmouth since May, in its first nine weeks it helped 28 people and saved 18 people from attending hospital.
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The scheme is the idea of former Norfolk police youth projects officer Colin Lang, who helped set up the pioneering SOS bus in Norwich after the death of three teenagers in four months.
Mr Lang, now youth and community officer for St John Ambulance in Norfolk, said they would be working closely with the East of England Ambulance service.
'I would encourage any person who needs assistance while they are out in the town to come and see us,' said Mr Lang. 'I would also ask parents to encourage their children to enter the project's mobile number into their mobiles.'
Allison Chaplin, commissioning manager for substance misuse and sexual health at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: 'The service will be a great support for anyone who needs physical or emotional help during a Friday or Saturday night. But this will also help our very pressured emergency services at the James Paget who we know experience a lot of people going to the hospital for care.'
The new project follows the launch earlier this year of the successful Town Pastors scheme in Lowestoft by the town's churches, which also sees teams of volunteers working on the streets to help revellers who run into problems on Saturday nights.
The contact number for Night Safe Haven is 07523 917490.