A new Night Safety Bus has been introduced in Huddersfield town centre to help women feel safer on a night out.
While Kirklees Council has brought in the bus on Saturday and Wednesday nights specifically for women, anyone who feels vulnerable on a night out can seek refuge.
The bus and its team of trained staff from Change Grow Live’s CHART Kirklees drug and alcohol service and Locala are on hand to help people report sexual harassment or just find a safe place or support.
Street marshalls have also been funded to support the busy nights in the town centre. They will be on hand to help people as they move from one bar to another, they will be a reassuring presence in the town centre and they will help people get home safely.
A recent women’s safety survey found that a safe space where women can get help on a night out and street marshals with a focus on women’s wellbeing, would help create an environment where women would feel safer while enjoying the bars, pubs and clubs of a town or city centre.
Clr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for learning, aspiration and communities, said: “Everyone should be able to enjoy a night out in town while feeling safe and being safe.
“This extra resource we have put in place in Huddersfield town centre aims to enhance the feeling of safety in the town centre, prevent small incidents escalating into larger safety issues, and improve satisfaction for everyone who comes to Huddersfield in the evening.
“Business owners and venue managers have told us that street marshalls make a noticeable difference when deployed to the night time economy.
“They are trained in de-escalating tensions and like the Night Safety Bus, will help reduce the pressure on emergency services. This has already become clear when the team managed to avoid sending someone to A&E as they were able to treat them on the bus.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “It’s fantastic to see this new service launching and making a real difference to women’s safety in Huddersfield.
“The Night Safety Bus, along with our street marshalls, will provide support to those who need it on a night out whether that’s charging a phone, getting home or more serious situations such drink spiking.
“The safety of women and girls is a key priority, and we will continue to do all we can to improve that across West Yorkshire.”
Det Chief Insp Marie Bulmer, of Kirklees Police, said: “Huddersfield town centre does remain a safe place for women and girls to socialise but we are pleased to engage with any initiative which make females feel safer.
“This excellent and really innovative new resource is really welcome and will provide that extra reassurance for women out and about in town who need a safe space to go to.”
The Night Safety Bus will be located in Market Place between midnight and 3.30am on Saturday nights and outside Kingsgate on Wednesdays between 9.30pm and midnight. The locations and timings may change depending upon demand.