News & Insight

Take Kare Safe Space Launches in Canberra Dec. 2016

While most people are in bed by midnight, a number of Canberra volunteers have chosen to stay awake in an attempt to help partygoers return home safe. 

Thongs and water bottles are among some of the items being handed out to the city's youth following the launch of a new program called Take Kare Safe Space.

The program operates out of a marquee in the CBD and aims to provide a safe haven for young people to hydrate and get home safely following a big night out.

St John Ambulance (ACT) chief executive Christopher Ward said the idea originated through the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation in Sydney two years ago. 

Following a partnership with the ACT Government, St John Ambulance and businesses around Canberra, it has now been introduced locally.

"We thought why not replicate it down here in Canberra and help our people get home safe," Mr Ward said. 

He was among more than 20 St John Ambulance volunteers at its launch in the CBD on Friday night.

"The most amazing thing I found was that the number of people who came up to us and said, 'thanks, this is a great idea'. 

"The sober people loved it, and the drunk people really loved it.

"It was nice to see that the community could see that this is something of value."

Mr Ward said at least half a dozen thongs were given out to people walking around without shoes in the early hours of the morning at the weekend. 

"There is a lot of broken glass and other things on the floor you don't want to be getting damaged by ... so we supply thongs, water and blankets to keep people comfortable. 

"We also have some roving teams as well that go moving around the precinct and keep an eye out for people who need help or who could be vulnerable or alone.

"They might need a bottle of water or to charge their phone, and we invite them back to the safe space and let them reconnect with their friends or family or an Uber."

According to Mr Ward, they helped more than 200 people last Friday and Saturday night. 

He said these were minor interventions including helping people with directions, hydration or simply helping them charge their phones.

"But we also came across 38 instances that we consider 'at risk'. 

"That's at risk of theft, injury or assault, and we intervened ... and we managed to give those people a chance and we got them home safe."

The Take Kare Safe Space will operate out of a marquee at the platform eight interchange in Canberra's CBD on Friday and Saturday nights, and will continue to do so until March.

"The trial runs throughout summer, but given the outcomes in Sydney and our first weekend, we have worked out that it will be incredibly successful," Mr Ward said.

"We will be looking to get ongoing funding through the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation and the ACT Government to run it as a program all year around."

Source ABC News Canberra

Published on by TKYF. Source.