New safer nights out van helps more than 150 people on first weekend in Northampton town centre

Volunteers called taxis for those who needed them and reunited others with friends

By Carly Odell
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 4:40 pm

A new safer nights out van (SNOvan) helped more than 150 people in the first weekend it was out in Northampton town centre.

On the weekend of December 10 and 11, the van was parked in the town centre between 10pm and 5am to provide a ‘safe haven’ for anyone who feels vulnerable or needs assistance.

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The SNO van. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

The van can provide warmth, water, phone charging facilities, first aid and emotional support to anyone who needs it.

The 13 volunteers who were on hand to help, helped 14 people to get home either by taxi or by calling a family member, reunited five individuals with friends they had lost and provided first aid to a number of people out in town.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold said: “I want to say a big thank you to the volunteers who have clocked up 77 hours over the first weekend.

“We want anyone who feels unsafe or vulnerable to be confident in seeking help from our volunteers by visiting the SNOvan.

“People’s safety, especially that of women and girls is a key priority for me.

“The SNOvan will help to maintain an active and safe night-time community and the wider we can spread the message the more people we can keep safe.”

In its prominent position near Market Square and Bridge Street, the SNOvan attracted much interest from people out in town over the course of the weekend.

More than 150 people engaged with and were supported by the volunteers wanting to find out more and asking for help.

Scott Fitzsimmons, who leads the volunteers on the SNOvan added: “I was delighted with how the first weekend ran and how many people were speaking with us about the initiative.

“We are working closely with our police colleagues and the ambulance service to really make a difference to the safety of those hitting the town.

“To have launched the SNOvan at this time of year when people are out celebrating the festive period is fantastic.

“As well as providing reassurance, we are able to offer guidance and support and we encourage anyone feeling unsafe to stop and speak with us.”

The SNOvan will be in Northampton town centre every Friday and Saturday night between 10pm and 5am.