Bury St Edmunds: Night bus to be trialled in town

A SPECIAL bus offering help to the inebriated is to be trialled in a west Suffolk market town.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has arranged for the so-called SOS bus from Newmarket to pitch up in Bury St Edmunds for two nights in the lead-up to Christmas.

If the bus proves useful, it could become a permanent weekly fixture in the town from next April.

The SOS Bus scheme first started in Norwich in 2001 after two young people were found dead following a night out in the city.

The West Suffolk SOS Bus was launched last year in Newmarket and its main role is to give immediate, non-judgemental help to people at risk along Newmarket’s High Street.

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This includes people who are in emotional distress at night, people suffering alcohol or substance misuse, relationship breakdowns and other issues.

The bus is parked outside outside the Post Office in the town’s High Street from 9pm until 3am on Saturdays.

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A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury said: “It will be trialled in Bury on December 17 and 23 and the way it will work is the bus will be coming over on the two Saturdays.

“We doing it right before Christmas which is when one would expect merriment to be on the increase.

“The idea is to see whether there is the demand for it in the town.”

If there is, the spokeswoman said, the SOS bus could become a common fixture from next April, when the new financial year starts.

She said the trial of the bus was not in response to an increase in problems during the evenings in Bury but merely to establish whether there was the need for it in the town.

The SOS Bus scheme is supported by a number of organisations including councils, nightclubs, pubs, businesses and chairities.

During weekdays the bus is used as a mobile community resource. West Suffolk groups, organisations and statutory agencies hire the bus to offer services such as youth outreach work, health care awareness and training and safety and housing information.

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