Late September sees the arrival of U/G students in the areas of Headingley and Leeds.
As part of the Freshers Programme, in conjunction with Operation Walksafe and Freshers Ball, Headingley & Leeds Street Angels teams will be engaging with new students and young people during this time.
A fresher’s week has been identified as Saturday 15th through to Sunday 23rd September with the Fresher’s Ball being held on Monday 29th September 2012.
Street Angels from Headingley and Leeds will join forces to ensure there is a high visibility on angels during this time. They will be covering the main drinking routes to engage with young people who are new to the area; including returning students.
Reassurance as well as providing personal safety advice particularly around excess alcohol and drugs.
Angels will provide water, flip flops, spikeys, collection of empty bottles and glasses, intercepting lone females where they may become vulnerable through drink; through high visibility patrolling will assist in anti social behaviour.
Earlier this year I became aware of the well publicised case in Nottingham when a young 22yr old law student became stranded in the early hours of the morning, attempted to board a bus to get home. Short of 20p for her fare the bus driver refused her to board, leaving her to walk home. No-one on the bus offered to assist, the bus driver failed to neither wait, nor allow her to liaise with her parent to meet her at her destination to give the driver the money. The result, left her at the mercy of a rapist, so badly battered, her mother failed to recognise her.
The 22 yr old student had been out drinking with friends and lived only 20 minutes away, using a local bus, one she had used often to get home safely.
With this case echoing in my mind, that “only if” a street angel were around, “only if” someone lent her that 20p “ “only if”
This could be any town or city where there are high numbers of young people making their way home after a night home, vulnerable.
I would like FIRST BUS to reinforce the message of Student Safety; hopefully to run the scheme similar with AMBER TAXI that if a student shows their ID Student Card, and they are short of a fare, the bus driver/company can liaise with the university to reclaim monies owed.
It is hoped that with the partnership with First Bus, that we can reinforce the message that LEEDS is a safe place for students, and we can use FRESHERS week as the key time for us to engage with them early and at their most vulnerable stage.
This is the first time away from home for many u/graduates and can easily become vulnerable through lack of personal experience in a new city.