Hastings Safe Space: nearly one year old!
Well, we didn't win at last week's HSJ awards but we are delighted to have been selected as a finalist - from a total of over 1,400 entries, ony 240 reached this stage. This is a fantastic achievement and a tribute to all our volunteers, first aiders and security staff.
As we near our first birthday we can definitely say that Safe Space is now a key player in the night-time economy in Hastings. Up to the end of September we had welcomed over 500 visitors through our doors and provided first aid to more than 200 of them. We have also made hundreds of cups of tea, recharged umpteen mobile phones and doled out 100 pairs of flip flops.
Although many users present at Safe Space with needs that are easily accommodated, we have also dealt with a range of more serious issues, including mental health challenges and occasional street violence. Most recently our team were first on the scene of a serious stabbing in Hastings and provided vital first aid assistance until the ambulance service arrived.
As we move into our second year of operation, we are keen to continue to develop our presence in central Hastings on a Saturday night. To help do this, we have recently purchased a street counter which will be staffed by volunteers and used to signpost users to our services.
What is the key to the success of Hastings Safe Space? Personally, I think it is down to a combination of a dedicated and well trained team, strong links to other night-time economy partners such as the police, bar door staff and the Street Pastors and a highly supportive client - Hastings & Rother NHS Clinical Commisioning Group.
We are looking forward to 2019 with great optimism.