PEOPLE drinking in Eastbourne will once again have a Safe Space during the festive season.
The project, a joint initiative by the Eastbourne Crime Reduction Partnership and NHS East Sussex Downs & Weald, aims to promote responsible drinking, reduce attendance at A&E and emergency ambulance call outs, and to ensure people have a safe place to go if they get into trouble or need assistance and advice.
Operated by Central Sussex YMCA and the Red Cross, the mobile Safe Space unit will be located outside Debenhams and staff will offer a range of support to people seeking help, from alcohol advice to sexual health advice and basic first aid provision.
The unit also offers practical advice, water, clean clothes, condoms, flat shoes and access to transport services where appropriate. Eastbourne’s volunteer Street Pastors will be out and about in the town centre on the nights Safe Space is running, referring people to the service where necessary, and giving advice on personal safety and welfare.
Safe Space will operate from 10pm until 3am on Friday, Saturday December 10 and 11, Friday and Saturday December 17 and 18 and New Year’s Eve.
The initiative was first seen in Eastbourne at Christmas in 2008, repeated at Christmas 2009 and hailed a success as the number of reported assaults and injuries fell during the festive season.
Eastbourne Neighbourhood Police Inspector Rachel Barrow said, “Safe Space will provide help and support and practical assistance to people who are ill, injured, separated from friends, too intoxicated to get home safely, or vulnerable and distressed, and will take the pressure off of the statutory services during this busy period.
“There will be additional police staff on duty in the run up to Christmas to ensure the community can enjoy the festive season.
“Our licensing officers will be working with the council licensing staff to visit pubs and clubs and will work closely with the Safe Space project.”
Councillor Margaret Bannister said, “Following the success of the previous Safe Space Projects which raised awareness, re-enforced the promotion of safer socialising and the “get home safe” message, I am delighted to see it back in Eastbourne for this Christmas period.”