NEAS venture aimed at keeping evening city-goers safe to star in new Channel 5 programme

Newcastle's "Safe Haven" gets national exposure

A mobile unit in Newcastle which offers a "port-in-a-storm" for night-time visitors to the city is to feature in a Channel Five programme on Monday 7th April.

The Safe Haven, at The Cloth Market, is manned by staff from the North East Ambulance Service, with the help of St John Ambulance.

Anyone who feels unwell or suffers an injury during a night out can pop in and receive medical attention.

The Safe Haven also provides a destination for revellers to seek other forms of help and advice.

The Channel Five programme is called "Closing Time", and has been made by Leeds-based company True North Television. It tells the story of how big cities change in the evening, as day-time workers go home, and the night-time economy sparks into life.

NEAS Emergency Care Support Worker Craig Stott, who features in the programme, said: "I love working at the Safe Haven. Everyone knows that Newcastle is a vibrant place in the evening, and we get to meet all sorts of people on a Friday and Saturday night.

"We can help everyone from a person who has had one too many to drink, to someone who has sprained their ankle on the cobbles while wearing high-heels. It's a great feeling to be able to help someone, who without the Safe Haven could have found themselves in a very vulnerable situation."

The idea for the Safe Haven came from Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, who has been looking at ways to improve safety in the city centre.

Since then the Commissioner has a launched a door staff training scheme which is now delivered nationally.

VeraBaird said "Newcastle has a vibrant and lively nightlife and I am really pleased that this partnership approach is helping to keep people visiting the city safe. Police officers, door staff and Street Pastors have all completed the vulnerability training course so they can spot the signs of when someone may need extra assistance and help."

Andrew Trotter, District Manager with St John Ambulance, said: 'We are always pleased to work in partnership with other agencies to ensure the safety of the public.  Having this Safe Haven mobile treatment unit means people have access to help, support and treatment quickly.  We have a team of highly trained first aiders who volunteer their services to support anyone who requires first aid. 

"This is a vital service for vulnerable people in the city cntre who may become unwell, hurt, are suffering from the effects of alcohol or who have welfare issues. "

Julie Beanland, Series Producer for True North Television, said: "The series will show a different side to the night time culture in our towns and cities. Yes, there are some people who've had one too many, but the majority of people are out to have a good time and a laugh with each other.

"In Newcastle we met some brilliant characters, from cabbies to doormen, paramedics to takeaway owners, who all have an important part to play in making the night go well."

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