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Community creates safe space for those in need at night

Saturday 10th November saw the introduction of a new partnership and night time service in Falmouth’s town centre.

Falmouth’s Safe Space scheme provides help to those who need it late at night whether through drink, drugs, an incident or medical need.

The Falmouth Safe Space scheme will operate from the Methodist Church foyer on The Moor every Saturday between 10.30pm and 3am, and ensure that vulnerable people are cared for in a safe, well-equipped and secure environment.

The scheme was the brainchild of Sarah Gray and Linda Coles from the Falmouth Street Pastors. They felt that offering additional support to those in need late at night would complement the work that they were already doing to make Falmouthan even safer, more enjoyable late night destination for all sectors of the community.

After taking their idea to Sgt Gary Watts at Falmouth Police Station, it was developed and it was agreed that they would work together to galvanise support for it.

Deacon Michelle Legumi immediately saw the potential for Falmouth Methodist Church to provide a base for the scheme and before long, a working group had been established to bring the idea to life. 'It has been great to be part of a multi-agency approach for this project and I am excited about the potential positive impact upon the town and upon individual lives. It has been brilliant to meet so many students who want to put something back into their community and also how the members of Falmouth Methodist Church have been so supportive to make this project possible including providing a number of volunteers’ 

Members included representatives from Falmouth Town Council,Falmouth Street

Pastors, South West Ambulance Service NHS Trust; Falmouth Police; University College Falmouth and the University of Exeter; St John Ambulance; the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union, FXU; Falmouth & Penryn Churches Together and Falmouth Methodist Church.

“Whether people need a emergency medical care, a listening ear, advice and support, or a safe location to wait for an ambulance in, we can help with all sorts of different needs thanks to our dedicated experts from St John Ambulance and our army of willing volunteers,” explained Sarah Gray of Falmouth Street Pastors.

“Support for the scheme has been tremendous,” said Sgt Gary Watts. “We weren’t sure we would be able to secure either the funding or enough volunteers to run it when discussions began. However, we have had a tremendous response from the community with more than 20 volunteers confirmed, and more than half of these are from our two universities. The project has received financial support from the Police, the Town Council, Falmouth & Penryn Churches Together, the University of Exeter and University College Falmouth, the Falmouth Business Improvement District and Cllrs Eva and Saunby. Support has also been offered by Abacus Taxis who will ensure that volunteers get home safely after their shifts and Asda who have kindly started us off with refreshments for volunteers and clients.”

“Volunteering is a great way for our students to learn valuable life skills that will help them in all sorts of ways in their futures,” added Rich Pearson, FXU’s Vice President of Welfare. “The Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union is very happy to lend a hand to this scheme and help everyone to enjoy the night time experience that Falmouth has to offer but in the safest possible way.”

The Falmouth Safe Space scheme will be fully supported during its hours of operation by Falmouth Taxi Marshals and the Police through the town’s radio system, and enable the Police, Street Pastors and the emergency services to utilise their resources more efficiently.

If the scheme is successful it may well expand and become available on other nights of the week.