Putney Safe Space Scheme

Published: 06/01/2024 By Allan Fuller

A safe space on Friday nights in Putney alongside street pastors are planned for April 2024. The goal of the safe space pilot is to ensure that people of all ages and backgrounds feel safe using the area at night, whether they be a resident or a customer. Through this we would free up business resources, ease pressure on local police and the NHS by creating an area to suit a variety of needs to night time users. 

We are reaching out to local people who would be interested in volunteering their time. The team will consist of three groups of four each of which will work a minimum of one night a month. This will be a combination of street pastors and Safe Space volunteers.

You will be provided with full training which includes subjects such as counselling skills, drug awareness, knowing your community and street safety. The initial round of training is planned to take place online on a Saturday morning from 9am till 1pm over 12 weeks. There is only one module which is in person and will be held on the 3rd of February at St Mark’s, Oval.

In February 2022, Wandsworth borough undertook an audit of the town centres between 6pm and 6am through a series of night drives. During this audit it became clear that Putney has the most thriving night time economy in the borough, with patrons continuing to use the area long after most of the night time venues have closed. The town centre was notably busy until 4am, despite only one venue still being open until that time. Many young people stayed on the streets buying fast-food and continuing to socialise.

The street pastor initiative was pioneered in London in January 2003 by Rev. Les Isaac, Director of the Ascension Trust, and has seen some remarkable results, including a drop in crime in areas where teams have been working. A street pastor is from the Christian community and is willing to help and engage with the most vulnerable in a non-judgemental way regardless of the situation or background. They are there to offer support and guidance to those in need. They are currently located in 240 towns around the UK. Every weekend they help to diffuse aggressive situations, give a listening ear, help women, provide flip flops, blankets, water and phone chargers to those in need. They look after the streets ensuring litter and broken glass is disposed of. Their presence eases tension and builds friendships.

If you are interested in being involved in this project please go to https://positivelyputney.co.uk/safe-spaces/

Note: The Illustration is the volunteer team in Kingston where the scheme  has been operating succesfully since September 2022.