Exeter Safe Space opens as a haven for anyone on a city centre night out
Published: 22 November 2022
A safe haven for anyone enjoying a night out in Exeter has opened in the heart of the city centre.
The need for Exeter Safe Space was demonstrated by feedback from respondents to Exeter University’s violence against women and girls survey in 2021, in which many women said they did not feel safe in the city at night.
Located in St Stephen’s Church on High Street, right at the heart of Exeter’s night scene, Exeter Safe Space is open three nights a week, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 11pm to 3.30am.
The space serves three main purposes - light medical treatment like cuts, sprains, recovery, blisters, welfare support like phone charging, water, safety alarms, bottle tops, change of clothes and a safe and warm place to wait for transport home.
It is one of the projects funded from the Safer Streets Fund 4 bid led by Exeter University, which saw around £680,000 awarded to deliver initiatives to reduce violence against women and girls and reduce anti-social behaviour at night.
Further funding has been provided by InExeter and the Community Safety Partnership.
Cllr Laura Wright, Exeter City Council’s Deputy Leader and a member of the Community Safety Partnership, said: “This is a fantastic initiative which will offer help and assistance to anyone who needs it. It is in a perfect central location, and the Safe Space is staffed by a dedicated team who can offer assistance to those who are on a night out and who may require it.
“In particular, it provides women with a safe place to wait for transport home and to access to any assistance that they may need. I think it will make women feel safer in the city centre at night knowing the facility is there, and I want to congratulate everyone involved in the project for helping to set it up and resource it.”
The project was the vision of Mat Jarratt, Chair Best Bar None, and Ann Hunter, InExeter BID Manager.
Ann Hunter, from InExeter, who has lead the delivery said: “It is a privilege and emotional to deliver this project for the city. We want everyone who comes to Exeter city centre to have great, safe, enjoyable night out.
“The Safe Space means anyone who may need support knows that there is a space offering a warm welcome. Key to this project is continuous learning and building a sustainable service that is relevant to Exeter. We will be launching a volunteer programme in January for anyone who would like to support the safe space.”
Mat Jarratt said: “Since the relaunch of Best Bar None at the beginning of the year, the mission has been to elevate the quality and safety of Exeter’s evening economy for both its guests and employees.
“The Exeter Safe Space is a significant step-up in caring for those that may find themselves vulnerable on an evening out. Best Bar None look forward to supporting the Exeter Safe Space continued development and thank InExeter for leading the way on this very important project.”
Jeanie Lynch, manager of CoLab Exeter Resilient Women Project and deputy chair of the Community Safety Partnership, said: “The safety of women in Exeter is a priority and it is great to see how people from different sectors have come together to deliver the Safe Space, something women who completed out survey last year asked for.
“The funding has galvanised us into achieving results based on the clear indicator the women of Exeter gave us in the survey.”
Exeter Safe Space will work closely with agencies and partners such as Exeter Street Pastors, the Police, Exeter Business Against Crime, Best Bar None, the LVA and other to deliver the service.
The partners are grateful to St Stephen’s Church for their kind support.