New Streetsafe project set to help vulnerable students
Updated 8:20am Wednesday 23rd April 2014 in News
DETAILS of a plan to look after vulnerable students around York have been revealed by a students' union.
The University of York's student union (YUSU), is preparing to set up its Streetsafe project in the wake of the deaths of York student Megan Roberts and former student Ben Clarkson in the city's rivers.
YUSU hope to have the scheme up and running by September's Freshers Week, with teams of volunteers patrolling the city and helping students who are in vulnerable situations or have had too much to drink,
Kallum Taylor, YUSU president, said Nightsafe, was an effectively an extension of the Doorsafe programme - which is a student run bouncer scheme for official YUSU events at the university.
He said: "We have official nights and must pat ourselves on the back for having more than priced drinks but that doesn't mean people won't go elsewhere and visit other bars.
"We can do all the awareness raising and hard hitting personal videos and training before people go out and to get them more aware of decisions they make but I think we can also have measures in place to make sure risks are as small as they can be when they are out in town. This can help that."
Plans also include body-worn cameras for the volunteers, both as protection and to gather evidence for potential prosecution, which could cost about £200 per unit, and the service is expected to cost about £3,200 to run per year.
YUSU said funding would largely come from grants, with volunteers trained up in first aid and other techniques to ensure they were well prepared to look after vulnerable people, and to help cut down on the burden on emergency services.
To set up the service and run it for one calendar year would cost about £3,200, which the union will apply to the UFund for, and are hoping to have it up and running with volunteers fully trained in time for the start of the September term.
Kallum said the plans - which were devised with PCSO Jonny Buchanan and through work with Street Angels and YORMed - were the first step in helping the student population of York stay safe on a night out, but all organisations in the city must work to improve the situation.
He said: "People are thinking about it across the board which helps. The reaction on campus has darkened the mood and it's got everyone thinking and talking. People are saying more needs to be done. It's definitely raised awareness of what's currently in place.
"It's not going to be one party that fixes it, everyone needs to up their game."