Learn about our innovative Saturday night Safe Space service that we developed and now operate for vulnerable young people in Hastings.

The Problem

The local NHS identified the need to reduce alcohol-related harm amongst young people in Hastings. In particular, they wanted to help young people who were sustaining non-life threatening alcohol-related injuries such as falls and sprains, as well as intoxication. They also noted that some young people were drinking alcohol to the point where they were becoming vulnerable to robbery and assault.

What We Did

Research

We spoke with young people in Hastings to understand their attitudes to alcohol-related harm. They told us that they were too young to be concerned about the long-term damage caused by alcohol but did worry about the risks of being assaulted or robbed while intoxicated.

Co-design

We worked with young people and other stakeholders involved in the night-time economy, such as the Street Pastors and police, to develop a service that would support young people while on a night out in Hastings. We also spoke to providers of similar services around the UK.

Pre-testing

In early 2017 we operated a pilot Saturday night Safe Space in Hastings. Operating out of a town centre cafe, we offered professional first aid services, including help for those who were intoxicated, along with support from trained volunteers to anyone needing it.

What Our Clients Say

  • "You looked after my friend Josh on New Year's Eve when he was really sick. I was really impressed by the Safe Space and the care he received."

    James

    Student, 20 years old

What We Achieved

The pilot was deemed by the NHS to be a success and in September 2017, following a competitive tendering process, the NSMC was selected to develop and operate a permanent Saturday evening Safe Space service in central Hastings. Following further co-creation wth young people, and input from stakeholders, this service went live in December 2017.

Hastings Safe Space operates between 22.00pm and 04.00am on Saturday evenings out of His Place Church Cafe in central Hastings. The service has three main objectives:

  • Reduce the number of minor alcohol-related injuries.
  • Reduce the demand for inappropriate A&E visits and emergency service call-outs.
  • Provide a refuge for any vulnerable young person needing assistance.

Safe Space has quickly come part of the night-time economy in Hastings. Street Pastors and bar door staff refer anyone needing first aid to us and we are already reducing the number of ambulance call-outs being made in the town centre on a Saturday night. Our volunteer street patrols are now well known and our trained volunteers regularly signpost young people to other support services in the town to help meet challenges such as mental health issues and homelessness.