Businesses work together to provide new “Bath Safe Bus” project to improve safety at night in the city centre and reduce the burden on emergency services
A new initiative to tackle safety at night and help night-time revellers stay safe whilst reducing pressure on local emergency services is set to launch in Bath city centre. The Bath Safe Bus will provide first aid, psychological support and a safe place for anyone in the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights.
Safe Buses run successfully in dozens of cities and major towns in the UK, typically operating as a mobile welfare unit.
Bath’s Safe Bus will be staffed by a combination of medical specialists, volunteers, and security staff, helping anyone that may have become vulnerable on a night out, requiring first aid or needing some form of emotional support. People will be able to come to the bus and ask for help if they’ve lost their friends, misplaced their phone, or just need somewhere safe to wait.
Bath Business Improvement District (BID) has developed the project and will launch on 31st March, with a Friday and Saturday night service, between 10.30pm and 4.30am. Additional dates such as Bank Holidays, Party in the City, Freshers Week, Bath Rugby matches and other big events in the city will be added. As well as keeping visitors safe, a 2017 study commissioned by the Portman Group found that areas with a Safe Space save up to £9.31 for every £1 invested through reduced admissions to A&E and by easing pressure on police and ambulance services. In addition to reducing pressure on public services and making Bath city centre safer, the project will provide an exciting opportunity for people to volunteer and give something back to the community. The Bath Safe Bus project is part of a nationally funded programme, The Safer Streets Fund. Funding was granted by the Home Office in 2022 to be used across different initiatives in Bath, including projects and activities designed to make people feel safer in the city and reduce the incidence of Violence Against Women and Girls. The partnership delivering the projects includes Bath and North East Somerset Council, Avon and Somerset Police, Youth Connect South West, Project 24 and the Bath BID.
Bath BID CEO Allison Herbert welcomed the initiative:
‘It has been a long process between having the idea and assembling the funding to make it happen, and we are delighted to see this partnership project come to fruition, supporting one of our key objectives, which is making Bath a welcoming city.
Police Sergeant 4531 Jonathan Raisey, Bath City Centre Neighbourhood Team, said:“
Bath Safe Bus is an excellent initiative and will help people using the night-time economy feel safe and have a place of safety should they need it. The resource will take a lot of pressure off of Police and Ambulance supporting vulnerable or intoxicated people and will be a location where people will know they can access support when other drop-in services may not be available.”
Bath MP Wera Hobhouse said:
“I am delighted and very proud to see the launch of Bath Safe Bus. It follows on from the community conversation I convened last summer exploring how we can work in partnership to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls locally. Bath Safe Bus is concrete proof of what we can achieve when we work together to take concrete action. My warmest thanks to all the organisations who made this happen. The launch of Bath Safe Bus is an important milestone on our journey to make our city safer.”
Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children, Young People and Communities, said:
“Bath has a thriving night-time economy enjoyed by residents, students and tourists and the bus will offer a safe space to anyone who may find themselves in a vulnerable position during a night out in the city centre. It will help to ensure people continue to enjoy themselves and get home safely at the end of their night out and, by offering first aid alongside emotional support, it will also help to ease the pressure on public services.”
The Bath Safe Bus project set-up has been supported by Jo Cox-Brown and Adam Waugh of Night Time Economy Solutions, a national company offering creative solutions to help make towns and cities more vibrant, attractive and safe.
For more information about Bath Safe Bus and to find out more about becoming a volunteer for the service, please get in touch.