Safe Haven returns to town

The Night Safe Haven team outside Blackpool Town Hall
The Night Safe Haven team outside Blackpool Town Hall
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A night-time safe haven which offers support to party goers and vulnerable people in the town centre is set to return.

Organised by the North West Ambulance Service and commissioned by Blackpool Council, the ‘Night Safe Haven’ scheme, which has been running for more than four years, returns on Saturday offering safety and medical help.

The purpose-built facility is aimed at reducing the number of patients admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital due to alcohol-related 
injuries.

Dave Rigby, sector manager at North West Ambulance Service, said: “We have run this scheme with great success in the past, even receiving local and national recognition.

“We work with our partners to provide much-needed support to people who have consumed too much alcohol, experienced physical violence, taken drugs or have lost their friends and family.

“Blackpool is a particularly popular night-time destination and has been identified as a hot spot, making this service extremely cost-effective as each year it helps in reducing emergency department admissions and provides relief to other local medical services including ambulances.”

The latest scheme will begin on Saturday from 9pm to 4am and continue for 29 consecutive Saturday nights across the summer.

North West Ambulance Service staff will work at the facility along with staff from St John Ambulance, Blackpool Horizon Drugs and Alcohol Adult Harm Reduction, and Blackpool Community Nursing teams.

The scheme is also supported by the Street Angels and Pastors and police.

Dr Arif Rajpura, Blackpool Council’s director of public health, said: “Like everywhere else in the country, Saturday night can be a busy one for public services such as the NHS and police.

“The Night Safe Haven takes some of the strain away from those services, allowing people in a vulnerable position to be looked after appropriately while preventing some of the calls that put 
extra pressure on the emergency services.”

Based on the square outside Blackpool Town Hall, the Night Safe Haven also offers advice on drug use, safe sex and how to find help for various medical issues including mental health.

Mr Rigby added: “Users can be signposted to the vehicle by Street Pastors, police or bar staff and, as local people are now aware of its presence, it has become a recognised support system making people feel safer in the town during the evening.”