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Night hub to continue in Durham City following funding success

Published November 11, 2022 9.07am

A night hub in Durham City will continue until at least next autumn following the success of a funding bid.

Hub at St Nic's Church

Representatives of the organisations that fund and run The Hub @ St Nic's Church

The Hub @ St Nic's Church was set up by a partnership of organisations including us earlier this year to provide support or medical help to those who need it on nights out. In its first five and a half months, staff and volunteers at the hub helped people on more than 400 occasions.

Following the success of an application to the government's Safer Streets fund, the site will now run until at least September 2023. The money is also allowing the continuation of training for people working in the night-time economy which in future will be offered to businesses within their premises.

Alan Patrickson, our director of neighbourhoods and climate change and Chair of the Durham City Safety Group (DCSG), said: "We are really pleased that strong partnership working has secured funding that will allow the hub to operate until at least September 2023.

"Those working or volunteering at the site have helped people in situations varying in both nature and seriousness on more than 400 occasions in just five months. That speaks for itself and shows the value of the hub in keeping people safe and well.

"That is why we are so pleased to have received this funding to keep it open and we look forward to the hub team continuing to help people in the months ahead."

The hub opened in February following the success of a bid to the government's Safety of Women at Night (SWAN) Fund by us in partnership with Durham Constabulary, with both members of the DCSG.

It sees staff from us and police joined by Durham StreetLights, a joint initiative of Durham churches through which volunteers provide practical and emotional support; and medics from CitySafe, who provide first aid and medical assistance.

When it's open

The hub is open until late on Friday and Saturday nights at St Nicholas' Church, within Durham Market Place, and until late on Wednesday nights during term time for students.

Initially funded until the end of March, the hub has been able to keep operating thanks to funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington Joy Allen, City of Durham Parish Council, Durham University, Durham BID as well as us and police.

In the first five and a half months it was open, staff and volunteers responded to 411 requests for assistance, both from people coming into the hub or requests to attend incidents elsewhere in the city. These ranged from helping those who are injured or upset, to handing out flip-flops, water and hot drinks and sorting taxis to get people home.

Now the money from the Safer Streets fund is allowing the hub to continue until September 2023.

Valuable resource

Joy Allen said: "I am delighted we have been able to secure this additional funding to keep this valuable resource going for the revellers in our night-time economy. The hub has gone from strength to strength since its opening and this is proven by the numbers we have seen using the resource.

"As Police and Crime Commissioner one of my main priorities is to make our communities safer. The Safer Streets funding has allowed us to use partnership working to provide vital services to make sure our city centres are a place where people can enjoy the nightlife that we have to offer with the comfort of a support system around them, if they were to ever need it. We are determined to make sure Durham City stays as safe as possible for everyone.

"We are so thankful to our volunteers who have made it possible for the hub to be such a great success and we are always looking for more volunteers to keep the programme going."

Value of partnership working

Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University, said: "We are pleased to have been able to contribute to funding The Hub project and welcome the support from the Safer Streets fund to enable it to continue.

"This is another project that shows the value of partners working together for the benefit of our city, including our students."

The Safer Streets money is also allowing continuation of training, delivered by staff from us and police, for staff in the night-time economy. This aims to help those working in venues to spot any disorder, find the safest way to step in, and know where to send any victims for support.

The partners are also now offering to visit businesses to deliver the training on their premises.