Street Assist, a local Edinburgh charity that has provided First Aid and welfare for over 5000 vulnerable people on nights out is calling for more funding from the drinks and hospitality sector to ease the pressure on emergency services this winter. The charity, consisting of 170 volunteers, aims to help those in difficulty, whether from injury, overconsumption of alcohol and drugs or victims of domestic and sexual violence. To continue their work, they require donations of £40-70k per year.

Neil Logan from Street Assist said:
“We have helped 5000 people since we launched in 2016. That’s a lot of people diverted from our busy ambulance service and A&E departments. But we are totally reliant on donations and don’t have the time or the money to doorstep individual companies for funding. We recently had 42 call-outs just in one evening and with Christmas coming up we need all the help we can get to fund more volunteers ”

The organisation is currently working with Edinburgh based Cold Town Beer which has donated £2000, encouraging other pubs and breweries to follow suit.

Louise MacLean from Cold Town Beer said:
“Cold Town Beer is proud to support the work done by Street Assist. Even though only a minority of people find themselves in difficult situations on nights out, having the comfort of knowing there is help available is crucial. We know that the hospitality sector is facing difficult times but donating even a small proportion of revenue can make a big difference in helping Street Assist to ease the pressure on the emergency services.”

The work done by Street Assist volunteers reduces the strain on NHS ambulance services and police forces; one study estimated that over the course of a year, ‘safe space’ schemes around the UK will ultimately save the NHS £100 million. Positive results are also found in the public sector, with every £1 in donations offsetting £9.31 in public sector costs.

Safe space schemes such as Street Assist operate with the aim of making the nightlife environment safer. There are currently around 45 safe space schemes available in the UK. A report by MAKE Associates estimated that the nighttime economy would benefit from a total of 150 safe spaces across the country. Each of these safe space schemes allows ambulance services and A&E departments to redeploy a staggering £50k to £1m of resources.

NHS Scotland figures show that just over 60% of A&E patients were being seen within 4 hours in early December, well below the Scottish Government’s target of 95%.

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