Oldham Council’s Youth Service and Oldham Street Angels have launched a new initiative – Trusted People – aimed at helping women and girls feel safe and confident when using the tram network.
Staff and volunteers are riding on Metrolink, visiting tram stops, and the areas around them, talking with residents of all ages.
The teams are offering a friendly face around the Oldham tram stops in case residents are feeling uneasy, especially as the winter nights draw in.
Until March 2022, the Youth Service are covering the stops between Freehold and Oldham Mumps at times when they are busy with school pupils and college students, with the Street Angels covering the later hours.
Funding for Trusted People comes after Greater Manchester secured £549,744 from the Home Office to launch a series of schemes as part of the Greater Manchester-wide Safer Streets campaign, which aims to help helping women and girls feel safer when out and about in the city-region.
It follows the launch of Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) Gender-Based Violence Strategy last month, which outlines how GMCA and its partners will tackle the many forms of gender-based violence through a whole-system approach over the next 10 years.
Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Metrolink has had a huge impact on Oldham - it’s made it so much easier for our residents to get around and connected the town better with the City region.
“Thousands of people use the tram every day, but it is unacceptable that a small number of women and girls cannot use public transport without feeling unsafe or being harassed.
“That’s why initiatives like Trusted People are important. Our Youth Service staff, and the Street Angels are there to provide reassurance and can be approached at any time.
“If you need support and see them please reach out to them.”
Councillor Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, is looking to volunteer with one of the Street Angels patrols in the coming weeks.
She said: “Our Youth Team and the Street Angels already do a brilliant job.
“They provide a friendly face, which can be really welcoming during the dark winter nights.
“Over the coming weeks thousands of people will be coming into Oldham to shop and enjoy themselves so it’s important the council and our partners are helping them feel safer with our Trusted People scheme.”
Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Bev Hughes, said: “The Street Angels already provide a trusting presence in Oldham, so the Trusted People initiative is an extension of this, working with the youth team to provide reassurance and instil feelings of confidence and safety when using our public transport network.
“This is part of a series of interventions we are putting in place so women and girls can feel safer and be safer when out and about and is in response to concerns raised when shaping our ten-year strategy to end gender-based violence.”