According to summary report A Study of ‘Safe Spaces’ in the UK Night-Time Economy conducted by Make Associates and commissioned by the Portman Group, safe spaces are defined as “partnership schemes (often based in buses or town centre buildings) that operate to make the night-time economy safer”.
Safe spaces in numbers
- The night-time economy is estimated to be worth in the region of £66bn to the UK economy and provides jobs for 1.3m people.
- Make Associates found 45 schemes are in operation in the UK, typically helping between four and 20 people during a weekend night out.
- Hereford’s night-time economy has about 8,000 visitors on a Saturday, meaning just one in 1,600 people end their night in its safe space – Emilia’s Place.
- Some 26 of the 45 schemes operate from vehicles such as single-deck buses and 19 are based in buildings.
Typically, they provide a combination of medical assessment, supervised recovery and discharge for clients who are injured or intoxicated from drugs or alcohol, and are therefore vulnerable.
The reception included an interactive session with a team from the Clapham Night Hub safe space, which is funded by the local business improvement district and featured as a case study in Make Associates and Portman Group’s report on safe spaces operating in the UK.
Victoria Atkins MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, said: “The Government’s modern crime prevention strategy included a commitment to establish effective local partnerships to reduce crime and vulnerability in the night-time economy.
“Since its launch, we have been working with 32 areas across England and Wales to support local action, working in partnership to tackle alcohol-related harms, including expanding the use of safe spaces.
“I welcome the commitment I've seen to local partnership working and new ways of managing the night-time economy, which safe spaces exemplify.”
Make Associates’ report found that while the vast majority of people enjoy their nights out, a small number – less than 1% – risk becoming vulnerable or causing antisocial behaviour as a result of alcohol misuse.
Make estimates that investment in safe spaces can help offset public sector costs by as much as £9.31 for every £1 spent. However, the report states that as many as 150 schemes could be rolled out nationwide with a network on this scale having the potential to return more than £100m to the NHS to be redeployed to other services, per year.
The full summary report on safe spaces, including case studies of Hereford, Exeter, Chelmsford and Clapham, can be found here.
Portman Group chief executive John Timothy said: “The reception highlights the importance of the partnership working approach that underpins all safe space schemes.
“As we look to grow the number of safe spaces in our night-time economy, the importance of engaging all relevant stakeholders in the discussion should not be forgotten. Tackling harm and reducing vulnerability has to be a collective effort.
“Safe spaces play a vital role in preventing harm and supporting individuals, relieving pressure on police, ambulance and A&E services.”
All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group chairman Mike Wood MP added: “I was delighted to sponsor this reception. Going out for a drink with friends is one of life’s great pleasures but people want to feel safe while they are out enjoying our increasingly diverse range of pubs, clubs and restaurants, which make up our vibrant night-time economy.
“Safe spaces clearly demonstrate a practical way to keep people who may have had too much to drink, safe and avoid them becoming vulnerable or a victim of crime, reducing pressures on police and local health services.”
The Portman Group is funded by its eight member companies: AB InBev UK; Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands UK; Carlsberg UK; Diageo GB; Heineken UK; Molson Coors Brewing Company UK; Pernod Ricard UK and Jägermeister UK.
Make Associates and the Portman Group have also published an accompanying toolkit that is available here.