Night-hub running as new Step In and Keep Durham Safe campaign launches
A night-time hub is currently operating in Durham City to offer support to those who need it on nights out.
The hub is part of the group which we lead's new Step In and Keep Durham Safe campaign, which is also seeing training offered to people working in the night-time economy to help them spot signs of vulnerability.
The campaign, paid for out of DCSG's allocation from the government's Safety of Women at Night (SWAN) Fund, encourages anyone who witnesses an incident to 'Step In and Keep Durham Safe,' by reporting it to venue staff or police.
The campaign is also encouraging organisations to become 'Step in Aware' by having 80 per cent of their staff complete the training.
Alan Patrickson, chair of DCSG and our corporate director for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: "We are really pleased to be operating The Hub @ St Nic's Church.
"Durham City is a safe and welcoming place for everyone but we are not complacent and are committed to doing everything we can to keep it that way.
"Applying to the Safety of Women at Night Fund is an example of that and we are now using the money received to run this hub over the coming weeks to provide support to anyone who needs it while on a night out.
"We are also putting the money towards offering training to people who work in the night-time economy in Durham so they are as equipped as they can be if an incident occurs.
"This training is designed to complement the steps our many responsible employers already take and we really hope organisations will support us by becoming 'Step In Aware'."
The hub is open until late on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights at St Nicholas' Church, within Durham Market Place.
It is staffed by security and a support worker who can provide assistance, or simply offer a safe place for people to wait for friends or the police if a crime has taken place
The hub is a joint venture between the council; Durham Constabulary; Durham StreetLights, a joint initiative of Durham churches through which volunteers provide practical and emotional support to anyone in need on nights out; and medics from CitySafe who provide first aid and medical support to people on nights out.
The training to staff in the night-time economy aims to helps those working in venues to spot violence against women and girls, find the safest way to step in, and know where to send victims for support.
Once more than 80 per cent of staff within an organisation have completed the training, it will be able to call itself 'Step In Aware.'
Already staff from some of Durham City's 233 licensed premises - bars, clubs, take-aways and hotels, have taken part with many more signed up for sessions in the coming weeks.
The training is being delivered by staff from the council and police.
With support from police, the council applied for and was given £109,302 from the Home Office fund, and was one of 22 recipients of SWAN money across England and Wales.
The hub is funded until the end of the March and its operation will be reviewed after that.
Inspector Dave Clarke, from Durham Constabulary, said: "We are determined to make sure Durham City stays as safe as possible for everyone.
"By providing facilities for people to attend as a safe haven for advice and support, we can ensure appropriate safeguarding support is in place, allowing people to remain confident that Durham is a safe place to live, work, and relax."