A new ‘Safe Space’ is opening its doors this week, offering those who feel vulnerable or in need of support during a night out in Leamington Spa place to go for advice and assistance.
Located in the South Lodge on the Parade and open every Friday night from 10pm to 4am, the facility will be run by Warwick District Council’s Community Safety Team, in partnership with Warwickshire Police, Street Marshals and Pastors and the University of Warwick. The initiative also has the support of key agencies in the town including BID Leamington and Pubwatch.
The provision of a Safe Space is one of several measures to be put in place by the Council and its partners in recent months to help to reassure night-time economy users about safety, with a particular focus on women and girls. It is also in line with an over-arching commitment to combat VAWG (violence against women and girls) offences.
Councillor Jim Sinnott, Warwick District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities, Leisure & Environment commented: “Everyone in our community should be able to enjoy a safe night out, free from harm. However, we know that there are circumstances when a someone can find themselves in a vulnerable situation, often through no fault of their own. We hope that this new Safe Space will not only be somewhere to seek help if you find yourself in difficulties, but also a place to gain advice on prevention of drink spiking and other potential dangers.”
Faz Chishty, Chief Inspector, Warwickshire Police commented: “Leamington town centre attracts a lot of visitors due to its diverse range of venues and has the most thriving nightlife in the county. It is therefore crucial that visitors feel comfortable and secure whilst being able to take advantage of everything that the town has to offer.
The establishment of a Safe Place will improve police capacity as a partnership to protect and assist our communities and is a most welcomed initiative. My message is simple if you’re out on a night out stay safe, and if you need help, please make use of the ‘Safe Space’ as colleagues will be on hand to provide support.”
Mark Kennell, Head of Community Safety & Security, University of Warwick commented: “The University of Warwick is proud to be collaborating on this valuable new project. This excellent new Safe Space facility shows the level of commitment being made by Warwick District Council and all of the partners to ensure people can get help quickly and stay safe on a night out’.
Stephanie Kerr, Executive Director of BID Leamington commented: “We are very pleased to be supporting this Safe Space initiative on Friday evenings in Leamington town centre and will be monitoring the need for it to be extended further in future. We also greatly value this partnership approach to delivering services, which helps our town centre to be welcoming and safe for all.”
Jared Seal from Pubwatch commented: "This is a welcome initiative that ties in perfectly with the aims of the local Pubwatch. Driving down crime and antisocial behaviour inside premises is only part of the partnership work that is going on in the town and we are proud to be involved with the many steps being taken by numerous agencies to provide a safe nighttime environment for all."
The Safe Space at South Lodge will open at 10pm on Friday 17 November. Members of the public are also reminded that there are fourteen ‘emergency contact points’ located in the town centre and South Leamington, including Clarendon Avenue/Beauchamp Road, Café Nero on the Parade, Dormer Place, Bath Street and Bedford Street Car Park which offer a direct link to Warwick District Council’s CCTV Control Room, monitored 24/7 by a team of trained operators. There are also enhanced policing initiatives in place, involving additional resources in the town centre along with the presence of street pastors and marshals.