OurColchester BID and SOS Bus team up to provide safety gift packs for the Summer of Safety Campaign

OurColchester BID and SOS Bus have teamed up to provide safety gift packs for visitors to Colchester’s Evening and Night time economy as part of the Summer of Safety Campaign. 

For four weeks, OurColchester BIDs Business Crime Liaison Officer, Vincent Geaves, and SOS Bus Crew lead by Stacey Banner will be handing out key information and support to make your nights out in Colchester safer and enjoyable during the summer months.

Running throughout July, their campaign will visit evening and night-time venues, to ‘top up’ existing supplies of bottle top covers known as ‘SPIKEY’ and drinks covers, to ensure they have plenty available for visitors to access at any point. Alongside drink testing strips supplied by Essex Police.

OurColchester BID and SOS bus crew will also be handing out free products and advice gift packs to our community and visitors to our diverse night time economy.

The guide, (named D.R.E), is a handy guide for people to protect themselves and others from spiking, from drugs and alcohol, and importantly the signs and symptoms, for them to access help from the SOS Bus and Essex Police at the earliest opportunity.

The gift pack also includes how to access help and support immediately if you or someone you are with, is in a situation which is worrying or scary, whether it’s from people you know or don’t know. Venue staff are all trained that if anyone says the code word ‘Ask Angela’, they will support and assist you by reuniting you with friends/family, exit the premises without drawing attention by seeing you safely to a taxi or if you wish contacting the police. All done discreetly and positively.

The booklet also gives handy information worth noting about changeable body reactions to alcohol including when we’ve eaten, medication and sickness, body temperature, exposure to the sun, menstrual cycle and menopause. Some of the reasons we know that changes our reaction.

In the gift pack will also come a bottle top cover known as ‘SPIKEY’ and Drinks covers, a proven protection for your drink. Don’t forget the drinks covers are reusable and can be machine washed, so they are continually useful wherever you travel, home or abroad.

OurColchester & SOS Bus have also been supported by:

  • Essex Sexual Health Services, who have provided materials about their service.
  • Eastern Region Hepatitis C team, providing information about this silent disease and its rise.
  • CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse) who work with victims and survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse.

Vincent Geaves, BCLO said “I am proud to say that this is just a small aspect of the work that goes on between partners in Colchester City Centre, with a strong objective to actively decrease violence against women and girls. 

Although importantly, everyone’s safety is paramount, we are especially aware, through government statistics, that women may not feel as safe when out enjoying themselves We are proud to say we are here to play a big part in easing concerns, providing reassurance and helping alleviate understandable fear, that women and girls go through before even thinking about going out socialising.

When talking to experts in women’s safety, we are fundamentally aware that stereotypes, misogyny and presumptions can lead to misunderstandings and potentially violence and abuse which may inform the choices women make or don’t make when planning a night out. This also includes other potentially vulnerable people and communities who can take reassurances that they are safe and free to be who they are”.

Although this campaign is for July, OurColchester Bid will continue to keep projects and training running for the foreseeable future, including ‘Ask for Angela’, ‘Best Bar None Accreditation’ ‘Vulnerability and Women’s Safety’ training’ and more. It’s crucial to me that people know they have support and access to help for themselves or others if needed, to be themselves and be part of our fantastic night time economy to enjoy themselves in the best way possible.

It’s also crucial that people know these services are continually available and easily accessed throughout the year. OurColchester Bid are excited to announce a further winter campaign which is scheduled to welcome students who are starting or returning to the university or further education. A time that we know is statistically proven that reporting increases with regards to violence against women and girls as well as other vulnerable communities, as they potentially live away from home for the first time. They are also excited to announce that included in this campaign is a schedule of events in September being delivered by Theatre Inspiring Change, combating violence against women and girls, by exploring stereotypes, sexism and presumptions that potentially lead to violence and abuse.

Back to Blog