There is a new bus service in Huddersfield but this one is like no other you will find in the town.
Kirklees Council has introduced the ‘Night Safety Bus’ in Huddersfield Town Centre every Wednesday and Saturday evening to enhance the safety of women on a night out in town.
The bus has been introduced specifically to support women, but it is open to anyone who may find themselves in a vulnerable position while enjoying a night out in Huddersfield.
The bus and its team of trained staff from Change Grow Live’s CHART Kirklees drug and alcohol service and Locala are on hand to help people report sexual harassment, provide a safe space if someone is feeling threatened, and offer safety and harm minimisation support for those enjoying the nightlife of Huddersfield.
Street Marshalls have also been funded to support the busy nights in the town centre. They will be on hand to help people as they move from one bar to another, they will be a reassuring presence in the town centre, and they will help people get home safely.
A recent women’s safety survey found that a safe space where women can get help on a night out and street marshals with a focus on women’s wellbeing, would help create an environment where women would feel safer while enjoying the bars, pubs, and clubs of a town or city centre.
Cllr Carole Pattison, Cabinet Member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said:
“Everyone should be able to enjoy a night out in town while feeling safe and being safe. This extra resource we have put in place in Huddersfield Town Centre aims to enhance the feeling of safety in the town centre, prevent small incidents escalating into larger safety issues, and improve satisfaction for everyone who comes to Huddersfield in the evening.
“Business owners and venue managers have told us that Street Marshalls make a noticeable difference when deployed to the night time economy. They are trained in de-escalating tensions and like the night safety bus, will help reduce the pressure on emergency services. This has already become clear when the team managed to avoid sending someone to A&E as they were able to treat them on the bus.
“Nationally or locally, incidents of violence against women and girls are frightening for any community. We’re fortunate to have dedicated partners who are willing to go above and beyond to ensure the safety of all our residents. I’d like to thank West Yorkshire Police, Mayor of West Yorkshire, CHART Kirklees, and Locala, for their support in delivering these programmes.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:
“It’s fantastic to see this new service launching and making a real difference to women’s safety in Huddersfield.
“The Night Safety Bus, along with our Street Marshalls, will provide support to those who need it on a night out whether that’s charging a phone, getting home or more serious situations such drink spiking.
“The safety of women and girls is a key priority, and we will continue to do all we can to improve that across West Yorkshire.”
DCI Marie Bulmer of Kirklees Police, said:
“We have been working closely with colleagues to improve safety for women and girls in Huddersfield, and the new safety bus is just one of the initiatives we are introducing this winter.
“Huddersfield town centre does remain a safe place for women and girls to socialise, but we are pleased to engage with any initiative we can which makes females feel safer.
“This excellent and really innovative new resource is really welcome and will provide that extra reassurance for women out and about in town who need a safe space to go to.
“Our officers will be supporting it as part of our ongoing patrols to help revellers and businesses enjoy the night time economy in the right spirit.”
Last year, Kirklees Council rolled out the Ask for Angela campaign across venues in Kirklees, including bars, restaurants, and clubs. Ask for Angela is a discreet phrase for anyone who finds themselves in a difficult or intimidating situation on a night out, allowing them to ask venue staff for help without making themselves more vulnerable.
Staff at venues operating the scheme will offer support without a fuss, which may include calling a taxi or helping the person to reunite with a friend or leave the premises. In more serious situations, they will call the Police. Although it is rare that someone needs to use the phrase, the promotion of the campaign in venues reinforces that the safety of everyone is a top priority.
The Night Safety Bus will be located outside the Kingsgate Shopping Centre on Wednesday evening between 9:30pm and 12am and on a Saturday evening it will be located at Market Place between 12am – 3:30am. The location and timings of the bus may change depending on the demand in the town centre.
- Next Wednesday (2 November), media are invited to cover the Night Safety Bus in action. If you’d like to attend, please contact Ben Holman, Communications Business Partner at Kirklees Council – email@example.com
- The safety of women and girls is key part of the council’s Communities Partnership Plan which sets out the safety priorities for the district.
- The funding for Night Safety Bus, Street Marshals, and Ask for Angela campaign came via the Home Office’s Safter Streets Fund 4 which focuses on reducing violence against women and girls.
- Locala health and Wellbeing is a not-for-profit community healthcare provider. They are proud to provide a variety of NHS services to care for and support people of all ages.
Karen Jackson, Chief Executive of Locala Health and Wellbeing, said:
“This is a fantastic initiative to keep people safe in our communities. I am delighted that Locala Health and Wellbeing is able to play a part. Colleagues from our highly skilled, and empathetic, teams will ensure that there is the right support and advice for women and girls when and where they might need it most.”
- CHART Kirklees provide free and confidential support to anyone 18+ who lives in Kirklees. With a range of treatment, recovery and support services they can help anyone who wants to make changes to drug or alcohol use, including loved ones of people using substances.
Clare Groves, Services Manager for Change Grow Live Kirklees said:
“CHART are really pleased to be part of the partnership approach to supporting people in Huddersfield to stay safe at night. The team on our Night Safety Bus can give advice and practical tips around reducing alcohol harm, getting home safe as well as any general advice around drugs or alcohol.”