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People enjoying a night out in Weston-super-Mare now have a safe place to go every Saturday night if they need any sort of help.
Mavis (multi-agency vehicle in service) provides a hub for police, ambulance, street wardens, street pastors, licensing and other local agencies, enabling them to offer immediate assistance to ensure people enjoy a safe night out.
A comment posted recently on the Mavis Facebook page read: “Thanks for looking after my baby bro last night, you guys are stars”.
Thanks to volunteers from St John Ambulance the distinctive purple bus can now be found parked in Princess Royal Square every Saturday from 9pm to 3am. Previously the bus had only been used at times of high demand such as pay day weekends and big events.
“It’s all about working together for a safer Weston,” said St John Ambulance’s volunteer area manager Damien Macdonald. “Everyone wants to have a good time at the weekend, but high spirits can sometimes lead to accidents or illness and that’s where we come in.
“With our first aiders close to the action ready to take care of people who are sick, injured or worse for wear, we’re making sure that, should anyone’s night out come to an abrupt end for any reason, they’ll be in safe hands.”
Mavis has a separate private medical area at the back of the bus for paramedics and trained first aiders to carry out their work, helping to divert people away from the hospital’s A&E department.
The bus is also linked by radio to licensed premises, the police and CCTV so staff on-board can monitor what’s going on in the town centre and respond to any calls for help.
“Mavis provides an unrivalled operation which joins our partners together to provide a safe and friendly service,” said Sergeant Mark Jenkinson, from Avon and Somerset Police.
“It is somewhere people can go to seek help, advice or even pop in just for a chat. Weston’s night life is fun, vibrant and safe. Mavis is part of that life and is something we, and our partners, fully support.”
Mavis’ reputation is spreading far and wide and gaining national recognition.
Howard Pothecary and Harry Mills from North Somerset Council’s Community Safety team were recently invited to the Home Office in London to give a presentation on Mavis at a conference on Safe Spaces in the Evening and Night Time Economy.
“A safe space is a collective term for schemes that provide triage, recovery and pastoral care to people out in the evening who may be drunk, have taken illegal drugs, or are lost or vulnerable,” said Howard.
“There are about 50 ‘safe space’ schemes established across the UK and, with Mavis, Weston is lucky to have something which many other locations are trying to learn from. Mavis plays a vital role in supporting vulnerable people and reducing demand on local agencies.”
The Home Office invitation followed on from Weston being chosen as one of 33 areas in the country to take part in the Local Alcohol Action Area programme which aims to generate economic growth by creating a safe, vibrant and diverse night-time economy.
As a result of their visit to the Home Office, Howard and Harry were then invited to address a National Alcohol Group conference held in Weston.
As well as its role in the night-time economy, Mavis also provides a valuable resource during the day and can be hired by groups and organisations in North Somerset to use at their community events.
The bus, which is fully equipped with audio visual equipment, mains sockets and wi-fi, can be booked for £50 a day or £25 for half a day. It can be delivered to a location at a specific time and collected at the end of the event.
For more information about hiring Mavis call 01934 427 265, email firstname.lastname@example.org or search MAVISbus on Facebook.