Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster has welcomed the work of a city-based service providing rough sleepers with a ‘safe space’ to get support and overnight accommodation.
Commissioner Angelique Foster visited the Safe Space facility on Normanton Road, Derby, for an insight into the way the project is transforming the lives of homeless people, reducing crime and easing pressure on emergency services.
The project, which the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and Derbyshire Constabulary contribute £100k to alongside contributions from Derby Homes and government grant funding, provides a lifeline for the city’s most vulnerable rough sleepers by providing temporary overnight shelter, wash facilities and access to intensive support and healthcare through a 27-7 centre.
Since opening in 2019, 292 individuals have accessed care and support via the centre – 65 of which have been female. Of the 116 who accessed support in its first six months, none have remained rough sleepers although two use the Safe Space facility periodically.
Meanwhile, the City Centre has seen a 93 per cent drop in anti-social behaviour dispersals and a 61 per cent reduction in arrests linked to the street community/rough sleepers. Rough sleeping numbers have also reduced by 77 percent.
Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “The latest figures show that Safe Space has successfully cut reports of anti-social behaviour and rough sleeping in Derby City. This behaviour was a cause of concern to both businesses and members of the public.
“Dealing with these issues with enforcement is important but we also need to find a long-term solution so that it does not simply start again in another area. Safe Space helps individuals to find the support they need to rehabilitate their lifestyles.
“The facility supports individuals with multiple vulnerabilities and needs whose chaotic lifestyles have prevented them from accessing any other form of help or support. Many are not only caught up in the criminal justice system but are also victims of serious crimes themselves and are often in urgent need of safeguarding.
“By offering a space of safety to rest and recover and have their basic needs met, Safe Space not only reduces the immediate risk of harm to these individuals but also reduces the demand on police officers time, who can get straight back out once they have dealt with a particular individual.”
“I would like to thank all the staff and volunteers who provide this crucial support which helps provide safety, both for these vulnerable individuals but also for the wider communities of Derby City.”
Safe Space offers day time accommodation for up to 12 guests at a time and eight guests overnight.
Individuals accessing the services are able to use shower facilities, wash their clothes, have their health needs tended to by an on-site paramedic, have basic food and drink, keep dry and warm and watch television.
In November 2020, the facility was updated to adhere to coronavirus restrictions and now allows guests to be accommodated overnight in specially designed sleeping pods.
The facility, which is staffed by volunteers, support workers and a full-time paramedic, was launched by Derby City Mission in March 2019 in partnership with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Derby Homes, Derby City Council, East Midlands Ambulance Service and Derbyshire Constabulary.
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