Omagh Street Safe Project is 2 years in operation

Published: 4th November 2015

This week marks the second anniversary of the Omagh Street Safe project which was launched by Omagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership on 2 November 2013.

The project, which is based at the Public Services Centre High Street Omagh, was introduced to assist people who may become vulnerable or in need of assistance on a night out in Omagh. It quickly became established as a valuable initiative supporting the town’s busy night time economy.

When the project commenced at the end of 2013 there were 15 volunteers who had undertaken initial training to prepare them for their role, providing assistance and support from their base at the Public Services Centre. The focus was to provide this service every Saturday night between the hours of 11:00pm – 3:00am, and they also provided additional services on Boxing Night and New Year’s Eve that year.

Further recruitment was carried out during 2014 and 2015, and the number of trained volunteers now stands at 57.  This increase in the number of Street Safe Volunteers means that the service can now be provided every Friday and Saturday night in Omagh Town Centre. In addition to being based at the Public Services Centre, volunteers are now out on foot throughout the town centre providing help and assistance where necessary.

In addition to the initial training many of the volunteers have undergone further first aid training, defibrillator training, mental health awareness training and vulnerability training.

Since the launch of the project 2 years ago the volunteers have come into contact with thousands of people, they have helped many people to get home safely, they have administered first aid to approximately 300 people and, to date, they have collectively provided approximately 7500 hours of their own time, without pay, to the project.

The Chair of the Fermanagh and Omagh PCSP, Cllr Sorcha Mc Anespy, paid tribute to all the volunteers who have worked tirelessly and enthusiastically over the last two years. “It is hard to believe that the project has been running for two years. I have had many reports from local people of the sterling work of the volunteers. Indeed it is not unusual for people to come with personal thanks and appreciation for assistance that they received on a previous night out. I have on many occasions heard from the owners of the local bars and night clubs how the presence of the Street Safe volunteers has helped the overall night time economy, which in turn helps the economy of Omagh as a whole.

If it were not for the volunteers, who show up every weekend, there would be no project”, she said.

Having undertaken training herself, and volunteered on a number of occasions, Cllr Mc Anespy has first-hand experience of what the volunteers encounter on any given night.

“Whilst there is a serious job to be done, there is a great sense of camaraderie between the volunteers, and indeed many of the revellers. Each night without exception, when the tent comes down and the streets are empty and quiet, they go home and know that they have made a difference”.

“The project is continuing to grow, and the busiest period of the year for the night time economy is fast approaching, so I would like to take this opportunity encourage anyone interested in volunteering for the project to get in touch with the PCSP as we are currently recruiting new members”, Cllr McAnespy concluded.

For more information about the Street Safe Project please contact the PCSP Manager, tel: 0300 303 1777 or email: pcsp@fermanaghomagh.com

Ends

For further information please contact Elizabeth Harkin, tel: 0300 303 1777 or email Elizabeth.harkin@fermanahgomagh.com

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