Ipswich: SOS bus offering help to revellers in Cardinal Park

IPSWICH: Help is at hand for revellers in Ipswich after the launch of an SOS bus pilot scheme in the town.

The static bus will offer a safe haven to people out enjoying a festive party in the town centre on Friday, Saturday and Bank Holiday nights.

Trained volunteers will be handing out free water, providing a safe place to rest or get advice and treat minor injuries from 8.30pm to 4am until December 31.

The project is being led by NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and is working with Ipswich Town Pastors in partnership with Open Road drug and alcohol charity, Suffolk Constabulary, Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council.

Dr Imran Qureshi, member of the CCG and Ipswich GP, said: “There is good evidence to support this approach. Where it has been used in Colchester, the SOS bus has seen reduced hospital attendances and antisocial behaviour. However, perhaps more importantly it provides an important point of help and safety over the holidays.

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“This will help protect those who are most vulnerable, especially those who have overindulged during the holiday season.”

The launch comes as health bosses at NHS Suffolk urge young people to take care on nights out.

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Dr Mashbileg Maidrag, NHS Suffolk’s public health consultant said: “Before going out always remember to let parents or family know where you are going.

“Whilst dressing up and looking good is all part of the occasion it is important not to forget just how cold it can get. Remember that night time temperatures do drop and you might have a long wait at the bus stop or taxi rank at the end of the night.

“If you drink a lot in a short space of time, the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream may become dangerously high which can cause alcohol poisoning. In extreme cases, alcohol poisoning could stop you breathing, your heart could stop beating or you could choke on your own vomit. So be aware of binge drinking.”

The SOS bus will be located at Cardinal Park.

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