People enjoying a night out in Nottingham are being offered a late-night safe haven throughout December.
St John Ambulance medical team have a treatment centre open from 9pm to 5am in the Old Market Square every weekend until the turn of the year to keep people safe and support the night-time economy.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry went out with the St John team recently, after providing funding for the extra presence through her Office and the Violence Reduction Partnership.
The piloted scheme is a prevention and early intervention activity which aims to provide a visible trusted point of contact for those at risk, vulnerable or in need of help and advice, as well as ensuring high standards of pre-hospital care can be given to people socialising in the city centre throughout the evening and early hours of the morning.
It will also reduce demand on partners including Nottinghamshire Police, East Midlands Ambulance Service and Nottingham University Hospitals during one of the busiest times of the year.
Three first aiders are based at the treatment centre, one of which is advanced, alongside one healthcare professional, a double crewed emergency ambulance and an operational commander. The emergency ambulance is on standby to convey any seriously unwell patients to Queen’s Medical Centre.
Commissioner Henry said: “Nottingham is legendary for being a welcoming city and a fantastic night out. I want everyone to enjoy the Christmas period and be safe.
“I have seen first-hand the incredible work being done on the streets of Nottingham well into the night in order to increase feelings of safety.
“I would like to thank the St John volunteers as well as all of the emergency service workers who are on duty over Christmas and serving our community at one of the busiest times of the year.”
The service has been provided every Friday and Saturday since the start of December and will be out five more times before the new year, on December 22, 23, 29, 30 and 31.
The funding for the project comes as part of a national directive known as the Serious Violence Duty, which requires local organisations to work more closely together – sharing information and taking collaborative action - to prevent serious violence.
The local implementation of the Serious Violence Duty is being coordinated by the Violence Reduction Partnership, which brings together specialists from local government, health, education, policing and criminal justice to work with communities and the third sector to reduce serious violence and tackle its underlying causes.
It takes a public health approach to reducing violent crime, focusing on what will make a difference to whole populations, communities and groups.
Medical student and first aider Holly Parberry said: “I've been volunteering as a night-time economy first aider for around a year, and recently started attending Nottingham night time economy.
“I like the variety of people you get to work with, including Police and all the different skillsets of those who volunteer within St John. I feel as if I'm making a genuine difference to people when I volunteer for night time economy shifts, we work so well together as a team and we help so many people.
“It has taught me how to think on my feet, be dynamic in fast-paced situations and how to effectively communicate with patients, their family and other emergency services in the environment. It's massively helped me personally in my education as a student doctor, as I've been able to practice the soft-skills associated with being a medical student in real life scenarios.”
Community Response Lead for night-time economy in Nottinghamshire Liam Hotham said: “Our city centre safe haven has been operating every weekend in December and we'll be on hand to help anyone who needs us every Friday and Saturday night for the rest of the year, including New Year's Eve so those enjoying the festivities know they have a supportive safe place to go if they need it.
“We work closely with lots of partner agencies in Nottinghamshire to support those on nights out in the city centre and help to contribute positively to the wider local health economy by helping people at our site and treating them, getting them home safely and in most cases, helping them avoid an unnecessary trip to the hospital.
“I'd urge anyone who needs medical attention over the Christmas and New Year period to approach our teams by visiting our treatment centre on the Old Market Square, or, if it's a life-threatening emergency, dial 999 for an Ambulance.”