Colchester SOS bus re-launched

First published in News

HELP was on hand for boozed up revellers enjoying Colchester’s nightlife on Saturday night.

The new Colchester SOS Bus, operated by Open Road, was launched by Colchester mayor Christopher Arnold at a special ceremony outside the at 6pm on Saturday.

Run by a team of trained volunteers, the bus will provide late night medical help for partygoers and provided a safe place for vulnerable revellers.

Wayne Powell, co-ordinator of the SOS bus, said his team assist between 10 and 15 people every night.

He said: “The idea is to reduce anti-social behaviour in the night time economy.

“We act as a ‘safe haven’ for those disoriented and at risk and we work with pubs, clubs and the Police to reduce anti-social behavior fuelled by drug and alcohol misuse.”

Councillor Tim Young, the cabinet member for community safety, said: “The bus gives people peace of mind, safety and security.

“The bus has been funded by the council which shows our commitment to this project and we are delighted with the result.

“I hope it is fixed in town for many years to come.”

 

See tomorrow’s Daily Gazette for more.

Comments (8)

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12:13pm Mon 3 Dec 12

romantic says...

I know opinion is very divided on this, but I think the SOS bus does an excellent job and keeps plenty of people out of A+E on a weekend night.

From what I see in town, it´s a fair bit quieter now than last year, which is mainly because people don´t have as much money.

But December is the time when people do go out on the town, quite often those who don´t do so very often. Office parties start out with a meal somewhere and end up with Shelley from accounts falling out of a nightclub at 2.00 am.

Council tax payers who never come to town at night will ask why their money should fund this, and they have a point. It´s a shame that the bars and clubs who reap so much benefit from the night-time economy do not put more towards it. Their responsibility cannot stop at the point where somebody leaves their place.

Many will also say that if somebody gets into a drunken state, it´s their problem and they should deal with the consequences. Again, they have a point. But it´s dealing with things as they are, rather than as they should be.

Many of the people on the bus are there to "put something back" after they had drunken times in their youth, and believe it or not, the kids who are stumbling down the High Street now will mostly turn into sentient adults!
I know opinion is very divided on this, but I think the SOS bus does an excellent job and keeps plenty of people out of A+E on a weekend night. From what I see in town, it´s a fair bit quieter now than last year, which is mainly because people don´t have as much money. But December is the time when people do go out on the town, quite often those who don´t do so very often. Office parties start out with a meal somewhere and end up with Shelley from accounts falling out of a nightclub at 2.00 am. Council tax payers who never come to town at night will ask why their money should fund this, and they have a point. It´s a shame that the bars and clubs who reap so much benefit from the night-time economy do not put more towards it. Their responsibility cannot stop at the point where somebody leaves their place. Many will also say that if somebody gets into a drunken state, it´s their problem and they should deal with the consequences. Again, they have a point. But it´s dealing with things as they are, rather than as they should be. Many of the people on the bus are there to "put something back" after they had drunken times in their youth, and believe it or not, the kids who are stumbling down the High Street now will mostly turn into sentient adults! romantic
  • Score: 0

1:19pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Douglas Park says...

Well said, romantic!

I think the pubs and clubs should certainly be maid to cough up towards the cost of running the SOS Bus as they cannot deny that they encourage a lot of the binge drinking by selling Jaeger bombs, vodka shots and the like to already inebriated people.

Of course personal responsibility plays a part. I'm sure most of us had a bit too much to drink back in the day, but it does seem to be a worrying trend amongst the 18-30s that going out on the lash is the norm, rather than an occasional bevvy.

There have always been bars who promoted "happy hour" or "doubles for singles" but there seems to be a huge market in alcoholic beverages that are designed specifically to get you very drunk, very quickly, rather than just for the enjoyment of a couple of pints or shorts to relax after a stressful week's work.

But well done to the volunteers at the SOS Bus. It's just a pity that their services are needed in the first place.
Well said, romantic! I think the pubs and clubs should certainly be maid to cough up towards the cost of running the SOS Bus as they cannot deny that they encourage a lot of the binge drinking by selling Jaeger bombs, vodka shots and the like to already inebriated people. Of course personal responsibility plays a part. I'm sure most of us had a bit too much to drink back in the day, but it does seem to be a worrying trend amongst the 18-30s that going out on the lash is the norm, rather than an occasional bevvy. There have always been bars who promoted "happy hour" or "doubles for singles" but there seems to be a huge market in alcoholic beverages that are designed specifically to get you very drunk, very quickly, rather than just for the enjoyment of a couple of pints or shorts to relax after a stressful week's work. But well done to the volunteers at the SOS Bus. It's just a pity that their services are needed in the first place. Douglas Park
  • Score: 0

2:26pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Reginald47 says...

How do you 'make them cough up' then? Send the lads round to sort them out?
How do you 'make them cough up' then? Send the lads round to sort them out? Reginald47
  • Score: 0

5:12pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Barside1 says...

There are some wonderful people who work on the SOS Bus who take great pride in what they do, and rightly so - they are shining examples to us all in the good that they do for others - fair play to the Council for supporting the project!
There are some wonderful people who work on the SOS Bus who take great pride in what they do, and rightly so - they are shining examples to us all in the good that they do for others - fair play to the Council for supporting the project! Barside1
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Say It As It Is OK? says...

What Romantic says makes sense but this bus should not receive any funding from council taxes.

All funding, if the bus is necessary, should come directly from a levy put on town centre pubs and clubs. We know many young people arrive in town half cut, and that is not the pubs fault, however its these establishments who promote excess drinking into the early hours so they should fund the bus.
What Romantic says makes sense but this bus should not receive any funding from council taxes. All funding, if the bus is necessary, should come directly from a levy put on town centre pubs and clubs. We know many young people arrive in town half cut, and that is not the pubs fault, however its these establishments who promote excess drinking into the early hours so they should fund the bus. Say It As It Is OK?
  • Score: 0

12:15am Wed 5 Dec 12

Yabba Dabba says...

Fair comments above, but it has to be pointed out that the SOS Bus is not only there to deal with the effects of alcohol. The volunteers on the bus deal with all manner of issues from people who are suffering non-alcohol related illness or injury, mental health issues, people who find themselves lost in a new town (as is the way with new students), become separated from groups of friends, in need of general information, keep vulnerable people safe and so on.
It is a shame that it is needed, but I for one am reassured to know that if ever I am in town on a weekend evening, there is a service to help me and keep me safe if I need it.
Fair comments above, but it has to be pointed out that the SOS Bus is not only there to deal with the effects of alcohol. The volunteers on the bus deal with all manner of issues from people who are suffering non-alcohol related illness or injury, mental health issues, people who find themselves lost in a new town (as is the way with new students), become separated from groups of friends, in need of general information, keep vulnerable people safe and so on. It is a shame that it is needed, but I for one am reassured to know that if ever I am in town on a weekend evening, there is a service to help me and keep me safe if I need it. Yabba Dabba
  • Score: 0

7:23am Wed 5 Dec 12

Say It As It Is OK? says...

Yabba Dabba wrote:
Fair comments above, but it has to be pointed out that the SOS Bus is not only there to deal with the effects of alcohol. The volunteers on the bus deal with all manner of issues from people who are suffering non-alcohol related illness or injury, mental health issues, people who find themselves lost in a new town (as is the way with new students), become separated from groups of friends, in need of general information, keep vulnerable people safe and so on.
It is a shame that it is needed, but I for one am reassured to know that if ever I am in town on a weekend evening, there is a service to help me and keep me safe if I need it.
Your comments are valid but its not the responsibility of Council Tax payers to fund any of this! Surely illness and mental health issues are covered by other taxes we pay through the NHS. And if individuals (adults) get separated from friends then they all have phones to contact people with.

Quite frankly this SOS bus is just a Booze support Bus. The volunteers do need congratulating, but 90% of what they do is deal with drunks.
[quote][p][bold]Yabba Dabba[/bold] wrote: Fair comments above, but it has to be pointed out that the SOS Bus is not only there to deal with the effects of alcohol. The volunteers on the bus deal with all manner of issues from people who are suffering non-alcohol related illness or injury, mental health issues, people who find themselves lost in a new town (as is the way with new students), become separated from groups of friends, in need of general information, keep vulnerable people safe and so on. It is a shame that it is needed, but I for one am reassured to know that if ever I am in town on a weekend evening, there is a service to help me and keep me safe if I need it.[/p][/quote]Your comments are valid but its not the responsibility of Council Tax payers to fund any of this! Surely illness and mental health issues are covered by other taxes we pay through the NHS. And if individuals (adults) get separated from friends then they all have phones to contact people with. Quite frankly this SOS bus is just a Booze support Bus. The volunteers do need congratulating, but 90% of what they do is deal with drunks. Say It As It Is OK?
  • Score: 0

6:52pm Thu 6 Dec 12

hi to you all says...

I am not sure where you get the Idea the the CouncilTax payers pay for the bus. They don't. The Bus is run as a charity and donations are collected from all over the town. The PTC also puts in money saving many A&E admisions it has saved them plenty of money investing in the bus making it better for all that need to use the hospital. The pubs and clubs(not all) do put in money and have collections for the bus. People who have been on the bus will come back to give money weekly in the collection pots. 90% of the work they do is not with drunks. The bus deals with much much more. Some of them listed above. Please visit the bus for your selves before you make ill informed comments. How do I know this I have worked on the bus for 4 years. I do and not just moan about it we were all young once and Colchester is no different than any other town other than it has a group of people care about the high st
I am not sure where you get the Idea the the CouncilTax payers pay for the bus. They don't. The Bus is run as a charity and donations are collected from all over the town. The PTC also puts in money saving many A&E admisions it has saved them plenty of money investing in the bus making it better for all that need to use the hospital. The pubs and clubs(not all) do put in money and have collections for the bus. People who have been on the bus will come back to give money weekly in the collection pots. 90% of the work they do is not with drunks. The bus deals with much much more. Some of them listed above. Please visit the bus for your selves before you make ill informed comments. How do I know this I have worked on the bus for 4 years. I do and not just moan about it we were all young once and Colchester is no different than any other town other than it has a group of people care about the high st hi to you all
  • Score: 0

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