Medway's SOS Bus
The SOS bus has become a focal point in Rochester High Street since its launch on May 28 2009. This weekly report from service co-ordinator Robin Wharfe gives an insight into the work carried out by volunteers each weekend. To sign up and more details on the service visit their new website www.sosbusmedway.co.uk
Friday, 22 October 2010
The whole team worked well this evening, linking well with door staff, Street Pastors and Kent Ambulance Service.
The evening was clear, cold and dry and the towns seemed busy for the time of the month.
In all we dealt with 15 visitors, including three medical requirements and called an ambulance to take over from our Red Cross colleagues.
The medical needs were diverse and show the need for the bus facility as without its presence other organisations not specifically required to deal would more than likely have become involved.
Our first visitor of the evening was the same man that was found in a doorway last week – a regular rough sleeper but aware that he can get a hot drinks/biscuits via the Bus.
Having received our recent fresh supply of flip flops, these proved popular over the course of the evening – four pairs given out, all for genuine reasons and the recipients gladly donating for them.
A smartly dressed middle aged man was brought to the bus by door staff from a near by pub, drunk and having fallen over, bumping his head. He was seen by Red Cross, and following release from their treatment began to talk to volunteers.
He was in Medway, from Essex, for business, staying at a near by B and B and revealed he was an alcoholic. He has been to AA meetings in Essex and is continuing to seek treatment for his alcohol problem.
We offered to accompany him to his accommodation but he declined.
Following an argument with her partner a young lady and her friend came to the bus closely followed by her still shouting partner. She was taken on board for assessment and a safe haven. Door staff followed the partner to the bus and assisted our staff from preventing him from coming on board.
She was examined and after talking to our staff was more calm and happy to leave the bus. Her partner had by now calmed down and all parties left together.
Another young female was brought onto the bus, with the help of bus staff, having passed out outside the Casino Rooms. She was seen by Red Cross who became concerned about her breathing and oxygen levels. She also complained of pains in her chest.
It was decided to take her to hospital via the Support Vehicle as she did not seem to be responding to our first aid. An ambulance was called to assess her condition. She was subsequently taken to Medway’s A and E to be checked over.
During the last hour we became aware of a middle aged lady who appeared to be in a very drunken state outside the Casino Rooms.
On approaching her it became very clear in no uncertain words, that she did not want our help. Door staff stated that she had asked to leave the premises to get some fresh air. She was very unsteady on her feet. As we left at 3am she was still there. The woman was also spoken to by the Street Pastors; they too received a similar response.
Police did intervene and were considering either detaining her for being drunk and incapable or taking her to the hospital for mental health assessment.
Towards the end of the evening the usual visitors came on board requesting to wait for lifts and hot drinks.A varied yet interesting and rewarding evening for the staff and Red Cross volunteers.
Friday, October 15 2010
Tonight was a cold and wet evening but this did not deter the hardened clubbers of Medway enjoying their night out.
Although we dealt with 17 visitors: most were for hot drinks, biscuits and sweets as the night proved miserable for them when they left the pubs and clubs. There were no medical incidents reported to us, but volunteers on foot did find a man sheltering in a doorway.
He is known to both the volunteers and Street Pastors and came back to the bus for a hot drink and something to eat. Although he does have a fixed address he has issues with occupants and has been spending time on the streets. He was grateful for the opportunity to warm up and take some refreshments.
This again endorses the need for a night shelter in Medway. We now have a fresh supply of flip flops; and the word soon got round with two pairs given out during the evening.
Donations via our on board collecting tins have raised £34.74 over the past 4 weeks – mainly as contributions towards drinks and flip flops.
We have now exceeded 1000 visitors to the bus through night time activity.
Friday October 8
Tonight saw nine people through the doors of the SOS bus, including one requiring treatment and a trip to A and E. The remaining eight visitors were a combination of people needing re-hydration,to those suffering the effects of alcohol and were cold and in need of a hot drink.
The medical intervention related to an incident on licensed premises. A female was hit by a bottle and restrained by door staff. She was treated initially at the bus to cuts to her hands but was taken by Support vehicle to Medway A and E as it was suspected she had a broken arm. (This prevented the need for an ambulance to attend)
Saturday, October 2 2010
The Bus operated only on Saturday this weekend as a late notification by the driver that he could not work (and with the Co-ordinator and other drivers not available to cover) meant that the bus could not be deployed on Friday.
It was a cold and wet night but this did not stop the crew and Red Cross assisting and recording 13 members of the public (including two medical interventions).
It became busier as the pubs closed and the exodus of customers onto the street between the remaining night venues meant there would inevitably be confrontation somewhere.
Our two medical needs were both assault related; one requiring ambulance/A&E intervention. First incident related to a male who was originally seen by Red Cross at a pub following an altercation. He had a facial injury but was more intent on waiting to report the matter to Police. A short while late the Police brought the victim to the bus for treatment to a cut eyebrow. He left with the police to pursue his complaint.
Some good intervention by the crew throughout the night brought the second victim to our attention. It would appear a female had been ejected from a premises, and in the process had sustained a broken wrist. She was brought onto the bus by our staff but handed over to an ambulance crew (already called) for conveyance to A and E.
Other street interventions by the volunteers and Red Cross included a drunk male who had been abandoned by his mates. He declined to come onto the bus but was monitored and checked by us for nearly an hour. He was given a foil blanket (to keep warm) and water to re hydrate, and eventually made contact with someone to collect him just before we were due to leave.
A young lady was spotted outside the Casino Rooms in a distressed and tearful state. She was accompanied to the bus where it was established that after a row her partner had left her and possibly gone home. After some phone calls some family members arrived and were able to collect her from the bus.
These were two good examples of the crew finding people in need of assistance and not reliant on people attending the bus.
Very early on there were several requests for directions to a restaurant and The Corn Exchange, where an event was being held. Two soldiers from The Royal Engineers came on board to re-hydrate, aware of the buses existence through friends in the army. They thought it was a good idea as a safe haven as they are often targeted by locals when out drinking.
Hot chocolate and coffee were popular, and the bus was well used a place to keep out of the rain for lifts and taxis.
Friday, September 24 2010
Although a cool and damp night the volunteers were kept busy with a variety of visitors and incidents.
Twenty-one visitors were dealt with right across the evenings’ time span, as people call on for general advice such as directions to venues, hotels and other advice.
We dealt with two medical incidents – one involving an assault; the other a very drunk and vulnerable young man.
The assault was discovered whilst volunteers and Red Cross were patrolling the High Street. Police also attended a disturbance where a man received a head injury. He was given initial first aid by the Red Cross and our team but needed Hospital treatment and was handed over to the Ambulance Service.
One of his friends came back to the bus for checking over as he seemed to have an injury to his jaw. He declined any treatment on board and was advised to attend hospital. He was taken there by the Support vehicle.
Earlier in the evening a 19 year old male was found by volunteers slumped in the road in Blue Boar Lane. He was helped back to the bus as he was in danger of being run over and vulnerable due to his condition. He was clearly very drunk and after a short while was collected by one of his more sober friends.
About 45 minutes later the same person was escorted back to the bus by the Street Pastors having been found again slumped in the road. He was looked after by the bus crew and monitored for a short while and it was decided he would be taken home.
The support vehicle, with Volunteers accompanied him to his home address where he was met by his unimpressed father who thanked us for our help and support.
Other visitors kept us busy with requests for water and hot drinks, advice and drop in facility.
It was a challenging and busy time for the volunteers and with Xmas not to far away we are gearing up for some busy nights ahead.
Current stats: 72 evenings; 963 visitors (inc. 127 medical interventions); 41 ambulances saved; 19 visitors handed over to SEC Ambulance service)
Friday, September 17 2010
With the Co-ordinator on Leave, the shift was left to one of the Team Leaders to manage.
There were 13 visitors, including one medical need, on what was a comfortable, but cold evening for the Volunteers and Red Cross.
The medical intervention centred on a disturbance in Rochester involving a number of men. One was injured and was brought to the bus by some friends. He had an injury to his left eye and swelling to one of his hands.
After treatment he left the bus and advised to attend hospital at some stage to have his eye and hand checked out. He did not want to attend A and E on the night.
The other visitors were on board to keep warm and were given drinks. The bus was used as waiting place for taxis’ and lifts and is recognised now as a safe place to wait.
Friday, September 10 2010
Another productive evening for the Crew and Red Cross with a variety of visitors and uses of the service.
Team Leader was in charge tonight and managed the service well. We dealt with 15 visitors, including two medical needs, both for assaults. The visitors included requests for Hotel accommodation, drinks, potential volunteer enquiries and one who was in need of a place of safety.
Just before midnight, CCTV reported a man had been attacked in Rochester. Red Cross and SOS staff attended to the man who had been punched about the head. He was assessed and initially treated by Red Cross, however an ambulance was called and he was transferred to their care. The Police also attended as he was a victim of crime.
The second incident was also assault related, again on a male who was attacked in one of the Clubs in Rochester. He was treated by Red Cross and able to leave on his own accord, however the intervention did prevent the need of an ambulance and attendance at A&E.
Just before 3am a young lady came to the bus, unable to get home and in need of a place of safety. She was given a hot drink then assisted home with two of our staff who lived near to her (outside Medway).Numerous callers came on board for drinks, mints and usual advice.
Latest visitor figures up to and including this weekend.
70 evenings: 929 visitors; (805 visitors/124 medical interventions): 18 handed over to Ambulance service; 41 ambulances prevented; 71 Support vehicle uses.
We also attended the Medway Police Station Open Day on Sunday 12 September, providing First Aid for the event, and a base for any lost children (or parents) and advice. I understand from the volunteers that attended it was a very busy and worthwhile day.
Friday, September 3 and Saturday, September 4 2010
Two fairly busy evenings as we worked another Friday followed by the first Saturday of the month.
Across the two evenings we dealt with 34 visitors, including five medical interventions. The Support Vehicle was put to good use, taking a client to hospital after an ambulance was diverted to another more urgent call. It was also used to convey a young man home and a young girl to her car, after she assisted her friend with the bus crew at the hospital.
On Friday we were joined by two members from Alcoholics Anonymous, who accompanied the volunteers on a walk about in the High Street. They will now try and have a member on board most Friday evenings. One of them, also a nurse, has indicated that she would like to sign up as a SOS volunteer as well.
Friday’s three medical needs were one collapsed female; a male with a head injury following a fall; and ‘Banana Man’ who sustained a cut to his hand. The female was out with friends and collapsed in one of the bars. She had only consumed one drink and Red Cross were concerned that the unconsciousness was unexplained.
An ambulance was called but was diverted to the man with the head injury, who was being dealt with by our crews at the same time. The young female began to come round and was taken to the Bus via wheelchair. No other ambulance was available so she and her friends were taken to Medway A and E by Support vehicle. It was disclosed by her friends that she had taken cannabis before drinking and this had probably reacted.
The male was taken to A an E by ambulance following initial assessment by Red Cross.
Banana Man came on board together with Superwoman (Fancy dress night in town) having cut his hand (cause unknown) The wound was cleaned and dressed and he was advised to attend hospital to have some stitches; a lift was offered but he declined.
There were the usual visitors for drinks, mints, rest and taxi waiting.
The two medical interventions on Saturday were both fall related. One young lady fell into a small hole in the car park twisting her ankle and was treated by the Red Cross crew. Likewise, another female fell over (drunk) hitting her head. She was seen by the Red Cross crew and treated for a bump to the side of her head. She stayed on the bus for a time and later went home.
The support vehicle was used to convey a very drunk male home to a Medway address having been found by the Support vehicle crew whilst out patrolling.
Again there were the usual calls for re hydration, sweets and some volunteering enquiries.
This weekend the bus will be supporting Medway Police Station Open Day, with the bus being utilised as a First Aid centre and also by Medway’s Public Health Team offering advice on Obesity, stop smoking and other healthy living options.
Friday, August 31 2010
Again the evening started quietly but soon picked up after midnight with the majority of our visitors taking advantage of the bus after 1am.
We dealt with 23 callers including one medical need. As this was a Bank Holiday the Casino Rooms had organised a fancy dress theme for the weekend.
There were many groups of 4 or 5 men in the town, and also groups of young women, some of whom had taken up the invite from the Casino Rooms. The evening was dry but a little cool and with the apparent high numbers in town it was inevitable that there were a number of skirmishes in the High Street and outside the Casino Rooms.
The one medical intervention was to a young man who had already visited the bus earlier. He was clearly drunk and very excitable and had previously stayed on board for coffee. He returned talking on his phone to the Police and claiming he had been stabbed.
He handed his phone to me and showed me a very small red mark on his stomach. He alleged he had been told to leave the vicinity of a club and had been pushed away by a member of the door staff who had used a pen to push him.
I spoke briefly with the Police and advised them that a patrol was near by and that they would be dealing. The man was seen by Red Cross and Police on board the Bus.
The crew were kept busy making drinks, handing out mints and lollies to several groups of pub goers and clubbers.
Friday, August 13 2010
By way of contrast to last weekend, this Friday was very quiet, with the town centres, pubs and clubs seemingly not busy. It’s mid month; halfway to pay day so perhaps the public are cautious with their spending money. Or may be the date put people off!
We were joined by a representative from Alcoholics Anonymous who stayed for the duration of the evening and has proposed to arrange for a member to come on board every 2/3 weeks. This could be a useful addition to the outreach element of the service and another valuable signpost.
The support vehicle was deployed across the towns and even reported that one venue (with a closing time of 00.30am) had not seen a single customer all evening when visited by the support vehicle at 11.00pm – they closed early!
The volunteers and Red Cross dealt with nine visitors, including one medical incident. A male clubber had collapsed outside a Rochester venue and was thought to be injured when the support vehicle attended. He was in fact very drunk and after some initial assistance was able to leave with friends in a taxi.
The remainder of the evening was taken up providing drinks and safe haven for those waiting for lifts.
The latest stats. up to August 13 – 65 evenings; 836 total visitors (387 male, 449 female) 722 visitors, 114 medical requests, 67 support vehicle uses.
Friday August 6/Saturday August 7 2010
Two busy and satisfying nights for the volunteers and Red Cross as we dealt with 55 visitors, including 5 medical interventions, trips to A and E and lifts home with the Support vehicle; and prevented a further 4 unnecessary ambulance call outs.
Friday began fairly quiet but the volunteers were buoyed by the visit of two of Medway’s new MP’s – Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford) and Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood). They both stayed for over an hour and were keen to talk to the volunteers and Red Cross about the services on offer and their reasons for volunteering.
The MPs showed a real interest in the project and were impressed with the facilities on offer and the obvious enthusiasm and willingness to volunteer. This was the first time that some of the volunteers had been face to face with an MP so it was a daunting but interesting experience; and were pleased with the ease of the MPs.
In terms of medical use, Friday proved to be busier with Red Cross dealing with 4 casualties. The first followed a call from Wetherspoons where a man was extremely drunk. He was assessed by Red Cross and with Police in attendance it was agreed that the best action was to take him home to avoid a night in the cells.
A female clubber from Casino Rooms attended the bus having been punched in the face by an unknown male. She was obviously upset and difficult to calm down. After some good work by Red Cross and volunteers she was suitably calmed to allow assessment.
It was clear her injury needed further attention and she was taken to A and E by the Support vehicle. A further drunk male was assisted to the bus from outside The Casino Rooms and allowed to sit with volunteers until fit enough to go home with his sister and friends.
He was vulnerable in terms of being left on the street and therefore a potential easy target.Towards the end of the evening a female tripped over a kerb in the car park just behind the bus – it was unlit and she had not seen the kerb. She fell heavily and appeared to be unconscious, however she was quickly seen by staff from the bus and assessed and observed before being allowed to go home with friends. There were no significant injuries.
A passing woman handed in a purse that was found in the car park. It contained a driving Licence, debit card and over £23.00 in cash. From the driving licence we found a name and after contacting the owner’s father we obtained a mobile number and called the owner.
She was sitting in a car in Blur Boar Lane car park, not far from the bus and had not noticed her purse was missing. She came over to the bus and was gratefully reunited with her purse and contents. A positive happy ending.
We were also visited early on by a JP who was interested in the impact that the bus was having on public order incidents and the reduction in A and E admissions.The remainder of the visitors were for the usual drinks, mints and other services on offer.Saturday saw 36 visitors use the bus or facilities.
We gave out all our flip flops but were in receipt of generous donations from those who needed them. There was great demand for drinks on Saturday evening and the volunteers were kept busy looking after groups of threes and fours at a time.Crew member’s helped a young man who was potentially the target for a group of men. He sought refuge on the bus and was grateful for the assistance.
Red Cross dealt with a female who appeared to be suffering from a severe asthma attack. After initial assessment and enquiries an ambulance was called. It transpired that the patient had recently been treated for renal failure and her condition needed more expert medical attention.Again flip flops, drinks, safe haven, and waiting for lifts and taxis made up the remainder of the visitor needs.Two positive, interesting and varied evenings were well managed by the volunteers and Team leaders.
Friday, July 30 2010
Another warm weekend promised that Rochester and the Medway Towns would be busy again. Visitor numbers were up this Friday evening; with the period after midnight proving to be the busiest.
We dealt with 21 clients through the night for a variety of reasons ranging from sore feet, re hydration and directions to providing taxi numbers and dealing with a man with asthma problems. We also had a new volunteer join us for a taster session – another student nurse whose training compliments the service that we provide and she gains experience for her studies.
Flip flops have proved ever popular with five pairs being handed out on Friday – all for genuine reasons and accompanied by a donation to the bus. Red Cross dealt with one client, a young man (18) who had recently been diagnosed with asthma. He attended the bus with a friend, having been seen by a member of the bus crew outside the Casino Rooms, He was suffering with his breathing and started to panic.
On the bus he was reassured and given oxygen to calm him and reduce his anxiety. He was not using his inhaler correctly and therefore started to become anxious. After nearly half an hour he was ok to leave and thanked us for our support. This intervention prevented the use of an emergency ambulance/responder.
We are becoming a useful information service and continue to provide directions to places within Medway, addresses for services and a ‘directory service’ for local Taxi firms.
Cold water and coffee continue to be a popular reason for stopping by whilst waiting for lifts or taxis; and our position continues to be a focal point for people to meet up before going out. The Police, Street Pastors and Aaron Stone, chair of the Safer Medway business partnership all called by throughout the evening.
Friday, July 23
A warm evening and the presence of Gary Lineker in Rochester filming for a Walker’s Crisp advert upped the temperatures of many as they passed by the bus on Friday night.
The whole crew, support staff and security staff took over a large chunk of the Blue Boar Lane Car Park as Mr Lineker went back and forth to the High Street. The crew on the bus dealt with 11 visitors, including three medical requests.
The medical needs focused on feet as two of the three required plasters for soreness and blisters – flip flops were also dispensed! The other medical request was for excess alcohol and treatment was via re hydration. The Support vehicle was utilised to take one man home towards the end of the evening – he had been drinking and was in no fit state to take a taxi. It was best to get him off the High Street and away from the public to avoid confrontation or the possibility of becoming a victim of crime through his vulnerability.
The remaining visitors were for drinks and resting prior to waiting for lifts.
A photo opportunity with the crew/volunteers and Gary Lineker was tentatively arranged via his road Manager; however he had to leave for a prior engagement as we were getting set up. Bags of ‘freebies’ Walker’s crisps were offered by way of a compromise.
Friday, July 9 2010
After a recent period of fairly quiet evenings, this Friday evening turned out to be one of our busier sessions, giving the volunteers plenty to do throughout the shift.
In all there were 24 visitors recoded, with good uses of the resources, including two medical requests and use of the support vehicle.
A warm and humid evening saw the volunteers supplying plenty of water to passers by, making the evening seem even more busy. There were plenty of groups out and about; with threes and fours calling by for re hydration.
One male was spotted sitting on a bench, clearly drunk but being pestered by passers by, so the volunteers approached him to ascertain he was OK.
Although it was a warm evening drink had got the worse of him and he was starting to feel cold. He declined to come on board the bus but was given plenty of fluids and was observed by the crew for nearly an hour. He did become more aware and was also given a jacket from our donated clothes.
A young clubber was approached by the volunteers outside the Casino Rooms as her friends were having trouble rousing her. She was assessed by Red Cross, given water to re hydrate and advice given to her friends. After a short while a taxi was called and she was taken home.
The Street Pastors also brought a drunk female to the bus as she was clearly incapable of looking after herself. This lady was looked after for a short while, assessed and taken home by the Support vehicle.
Much of the evening was taken up providing drinks, the usual flip flop requests, advice and directions.
Also on board was an evaluator from The University of Greenwich. She was able to interview some of the volunteers and staff on the bus, patrol with the volunteers and get some feedback for users of the service.
Saturday, July 3 2010
As this was the first weekend of the month, we were out on both Friday and Saturday evenings.There was a contrast in attendance for the two nights with Friday attracting 15 callers, including 3 medical needs and two uses of the Support vehicle, and Saturday, generally a busier night, dealing with just 8 callers and no medical requests.
Red Cross could only provide single staff on both nights due to planned events across the County. Friday presented the crew with some interesting challenges, and with a new volunteer on a ‘taster’ session, it was a case of learning from the start.
The evening was very warm and it drew lots of people onto the streets of Rochester. The Red Cross were asked to clean and dress a cut to a woman’s foot – fairly deep but successfully treated. She and her two friends also contributed donations and went away with flip flops.
The Council CCTV controllers summoned our assistance to a man who had fallen over and appeared to have badly cut his head. On attendance he was quickly assessed, however an ambulance was called and he quite rightly was taken to A &E.
Another female attended the bus together with friends. She had recently given birth and had been out celebrating when she fell over and cut and grazed her knees. Again these injuries were cleaned and plasters applied.
A number of visitors called in for cold water as the humid night was causing de hydration.The Street Pastors called us to a group of young woman in the Vines Gardens, Rochester, one of them being very drunk and incapable of getting home.
The support vehicle picked them up and took them back to Strood – positive partnership working. Safe Exit also worked with us again, however there didn’t appear to be any Street Sex workers when we went out on patrol.
Having spoken to the Team leader for Saturday night, the general feeling was that the towns were busy but public seemed in the older category and not the usual age group client that we see on the bus on a Friday night.
A total of 8 callers were record for the evening, with no requests for medical assistance.7 of the 8 were for drinks – water and coffee; the other caller expressed an interest in the project.
Friday June 25 2010
Tonight was a very warm and humid evening with Rochester High Street area busy with families in the early part of the night, and then groups and parties enjoying the summer weather.
There were a total of 12 visitors to the bus, including one First aid request and checks on a Street Sex worker via the Safe Exit team.
The First Aid incident again prevented an Ambulance from being called. The injured man presented himself to the Red Cross crew with a suspected broken hand.
The reason for the injury was not explained; however the man had suffered a beak to the hand in the past and was concerned whether it was again broken. He was checked over and advised to attend A and E for a more thorough examination to confirm the extent of any injury.
The Support vehicle was utilised and the Safe Exit team were able to engage with a known Street Sex worker.
The Bus also supported the Hillyfields Gillingham Fun day, on Saturday 26th June, providing First Aid support and drinks/reception/lost children facilities.
Friday June 18 2010
Today the bus was out from 6.00pm as it was first deployed to Chatham Maritime for the second of England’s televised World Cup Games. The bus returned to Blue Boar Lane at around 9.45pm for the remainder of the evening, not having been called upon to provide any First Aid support.
There were 14 recorded visitors, including three medical requests, two of which prevented the call out of an ambulance.
The first was to a young man who severely bruised his hand punching a ‘punch ball’ machine in one of the local clubs/pubs. It was possibly broken and he was offered a lift to A and E via the support vehicle, but declined.
The second First Aid incident was as a result of a man falling onto his hip in Rochester High Street. He was checked over on board the bus and again he appeared to have severe bruising/soft tissue damage. He was advised to have an X- ray. His friends were not too happy with him as he was due to take part in the London to Brighton cycle race on the Sunday.
The third First Aid request was to a young and very drunk female who was checked over and monitored by the Red Cross crew. After a stay on board she was taken home by relatives.
The remainder of the callers to the bus were for the usual requests of drinks, water advice and flip flops. Donations continue to arrive for flip flops and the supply of drinks.
The mood of the public was generally subdued following the poor performance of England earlier in the evening.
Friday, June 11 2010
With the World Cup under way, and England’s first game due to take place on the following Saturday, Friday evening turned out to be a very quiet affair – not only for the SOS Bus but across the High Street at the Pubs and Clubs and also further a field throughout the towns in general.
The public seemed to be building themselves up for the big KO!
The crew dealt with 12 visitors who requested advice on local amenities, water and hot drinks for re hydration and also requests for information on volunteering. One couple, including a health worker from outside the Kent area, was particularly interested in the project and took away leaflets and other information to pass onto colleagues in her own district (Hertfordshire).
The support vehicle echoed the quiet nature of the towns as it patrolled from Amadeus in the West to The Cricketers at Rainham on the other side of Medway. There appeared to be no Street Sex workers in the New Road and surrounding areas.
There were no requests for medical intervention/advice.
The Bus attended the first England game at the Chatham Maritime on Saturday. Approximately 4 – 500 people were in attendance, well natured and behaved, with the staff being called upon only one occasion to offer some First Aid advice.
The Bus and Support vehicle are out all next week supporting the Medway DAAT awareness campaign. We will also be attending Chatham Maritime on Friday evening to assist at the screening of the second England game.
Saturday, June 5 2010
Although this was Dickens Weekend, the business of the day time activity did not transfer across to the evening with the SOS bus experiencing a quiet Friday evening, 11 visitors and a busier Saturday with 16 visitors.
There were no incidents requiring medical attention over both evenings. The Friday team were again joined by a worker from the Safe Exit Team and whilst on patrol with the Support vehicle crew were able to engage with 2 Street Sex workers.
The Friday evening records showed dehydration as the most common need of the bus services – the weather was warm and humid. A request for shoes (to gain access to the Casino Rooms presumably) was politely refused and the visitor sent in the direction of one of the Rochester pubs that does sell shoes for this reason. Again Flip flops were supplied for a small donation.
Saturday did prove to be the busier night with 16 visitors recorded.
The first caller of the evening was from a male who presented himself at 9pm, as homeless. He stayed for a short while and was given soup and a drink. He did not want signposting to any other service but was appreciative of the assistance given to him.
Some heavy rain fall prompted a number of callers to seek refuge, with drinks provided. Others chose to wait for lifts from the inclement weather.
Visitors to the bus have contributed £28.86 via the two secure collection boxes, over just three evenings – mainly for drinks/flip flop donations, with some people donating to the project as a means of supporting the service generally.
The next two weeks will see the bus out and about supporting Medway’s DAAT in their Action Week, and also Dickens World, Chatham Maritime, World Cup screening events.
Friday, May 28 2010
As with the recent Bank Holiday weekends, the Friday has turned out to be fairly quiet for visitors onto the bus and generally within the towns. We dealt with 13 visitors, made up of 11 casual callers and 2 medical requests. 10 of the visitors called on our services after midnight.
The bus is becoming a useful source of information as a number of people attending the car park asked for directions to an event at the Corn Exchange. As visitors to the town they saw the bus as a visible presence and useful for information.
A member of the Safe Exit Team patrolled with us again, however, we were unable to locate any of the Street Sex workers. The two medical requests were contrasting in their needs. The first was for a simple plaster for a cut foot, however, the other proved to be more serious. A member of the Casino Room staff contacted us regarding a female who appeared to be in some pain. She was having difficulty walking so we were able to use our wheel chair to bring her to the bus.
She was complaining of severe cramping pains in the stomach and after initial assessment an ambulance was called. The Ambulance responder attended and following his assessment conveyed her to the Medway A and E dept.
The Support vehicle was used to convey a female motorist and her friend’s home following advice from the Police. She had tried to get into her car to drive home, however, her friends managed to get the keys from her and following advice and threat of arrest from the police if she attempted to drive, her friends persuaded her to stay on the bus and try and arrange a lift home. She was unable to do so therefore one of the friends agreed to let her stay the night. In order to get her away from her car as quickly as possible the support vehicle took them all home.
Other callers to the bus were seeking refreshment; safe haven waiting for lifts and flip flops. Donations continue to arrive, especially for flip flops and some for drinks.
Next weekend sees the annual Dickens Festival take place and the bus will be out on both Friday and Saturday evenings.
The forthcoming Fifa World Cup has sought interest in the bus and we will be supporting the planned Dickens World big screen event for at least the three England group games, at the Dockside Outlet, commencing on Saturday June 12.
The support vehicle was also in use on Saturday supporting the work of the Medway Sexual Health Team at the ‘Love Music, Hate Racism’ event centred on the Command House in Chatham.
Friday, May 21 2010
A fairly typical mid-month Friday night in Rochester; and being the weekend before the next Bank Holiday, it proved to be quiet along the High Street and around the towns in general, even though the weather was mild and dry.
We were joined by two staff from College Health who accompanied a member from the Safe Exit team and the Support vehicle crew, However, a check of the areas linked to the Street Sex workers could not find any girls out working.
The above stayed with the volunteers until 1am, accompanying volunteers on walk patrol and again in the support vehicle.
We assisted 15 visitors through out the evening; primarily for drinks, advice, flip flops and safe haven waiting for lifts and taxis. There were no medical requests this evening, and no additional uses of the support vehicle. Street Pastors also reported a quiet evening.
Our two donation boxes are proving to be worthwhile, with contributions towards drinks and flip flops most popular. One young man (who was sober) deposited all his loose change – between £8 -£10.00, into one of the boxes.
As the anniversary of the first evening working approaches ( May 29) the following are a selection of current night time stats.51 evenings; 615 visitors (288 male, 327 female) 93 requests for medical help/advice;50 uses of the support vehicle.29 Ambulances prevented.
Some percentages:Reasons given to visit: 10% of visitors presented as injured/unwell; 23% were under the influence of alcohol; 23% came on board to keep warm; 14% requested advice; 14% presented as de hydrated; 11 visitors indicated homelessness (1%) as a reason to visit ; the same numbers stated they were unable to get home.
Outcome of visits:8% were treated for first aid/medical help; 9% (75) were taken home by relatives/friends; 2% (13) were taken home by support vehicle; 25% were given advice;2% (16) were dealt with by Police, including 5 victims of crime.
By Age and Post Code:60% of visitors fell in the 18-24 age groups; 20% in the 25-24 age group and the 46 + age group accounted for 6% of visitors.By post code: 75% of visitors were from Medway Town post codes; 14% from other Kent areas; the remaining 11% came from outside Kent, outside the UK or were NFA or declined to give a Post Code.
Friday, May 7 2010
Friday’s activity proved to be much less busy than last weekend during Sweeps Festival.
The team were kept busy with 16 visitors (14 after 1am). Most were for the regular re-hydration, hot drinks, mints and flip flops – donations for which are starting to trickle into the donation boxes.
Red Cros volunteers were presented with one visitor requiring assistance. Overall the volunteers reported a quiet night in the High Street area and across the towns in general.
Tonight’s visitor numbers pushed the total to 600 over 50 evenings, giving an average of 12 callers a night. The support vehicle has been used on 50 occasions.
Friday, April 30 2010
With the weekend being a Bank Holiday and The Sweeps festival in full swing it was always expected to be busy. As with the last long weekend (Easter), Friday evening proved to be the quieter of the nights. There seems to be a tendency on these weekends to pick a night to go out, and it is usually Saturday or Sunday.
Having said that Friday did provide the volunteers and Red Cross with 19 visitors to accommodate. There was one First Aid requirement – a clubber had fallen on the grassy area of Blue Boar Lane twisting his ankle. He was seen by the Red Cross team and then taken home by the Support vehicle.
Other callers included groups of young people requesting water and other drinks to re hydrate; flip flop requests for those sore feet and some interest in volunteering for the project.
What is encouraging is that the public are recognising the good work of the volunteers and offering donations – even if it loose change for providing drinks and flip flops.
Saturday, May 1 2010
Saturday proved to be the busier night of the two and in terms of visitor numbers reached 30 for the first time. We were also joined by a reporter from Medway News who accompanied the volunteers/Red Cross on calls, spoke to staff and visitors and will put an article together for future publication.
The visitors and calls were spread out across the evening, and included First Aid calls and use of the support vehicle. Early on in the evening volunteers called the support vehicle to a collapsed and very drunk lady (not the usual younger reveller) in her 50’s.
She was conveyed back to the Bus and after assessment was taken home with her sister via the support vehicle.
We were later called by volunteers who had found a young man who had been hit by a car near Star Hill. He was accompanied back to the bus where grazes and small cuts to his hands and legs were dealt with.
The incident was not seen by CCTV; however some cursory details of the car were passed to the Police.This incident would have normally attracted an ambulance and possibly a trip to A&E.
A short while later, a young female clubber from the Casino Rooms, knowing we were in situ, found us having been assaulted in the club. She was suffering from a suspected broken nose and was very upset.
At her request we contacted police patrols in the High Street, who attended the bus and took details from her. After treatment she left with some friends to follow up the complaint with the Police.
It was certainly a busy night for re hydration; hot drinks and the use of the bus as a safe haven and waiting place for friends and taxis. We are now also used as focal point for people to meet before they head out into town.
There was lots of co operation between CCTV, Police, Door Staff and volunteers which assisted a busy night to run smoothly.
Friday, April 26 2010
Mid month; a week before pay day and a Bank Holiday weekend next week meant that Rochester High Street was generally quiet.
We dealt with 11 clients, including two medical interventions. The support vehicle was utilised by a Safe Exit out reach worker, intending to make contact with some of the Street Sex workers.
Two girls were found in the Manor Road/New Road area and although approached by the Safe Exit worker and our volunteer, they did not want to engage.
One of the girls was one that the Safe Exit project were hoping to engage with, however, she is known to them and they will make contact at a later date.
The Support vehicle was sent to Amadeus night club where a young lady was feeling weak and had difficulty conversing with staff.
She had been drinking, had not eaten and once she had been assessed, given water and taken into the fresh air she felt better.
The other medical intervention was to the High Street in Rochester, where we were asked by the Street Pastors and CCTV to attend a male who appeared to have been attacked and kicked to the ground.
He was seen by Red Cross and found to have been knocked out for some seconds. However, he declined any further assistance, including an ambulance and left with some friends having been advised to see his GP or attend A and E.
Two separate groups of males and females attended the bus at different times to wait for lifts and taxis. Hot drinks were made available and all stayed until picked up by friends or taxi.
There were a number of casual callers – advice, re-hydration and interest in the bus.Another new volunteer stared this week and is also available to drive the main bus once the insurers have been advised and approval obtained.
Next week is May Bank holiday weekend and we will be operating both Friday and Saturday evening.Robin WharfeSOS Bus Co-ordinator26th April 2010.
Friday, April 16 2010
A manageable evening for the volunteers and Red Cross with 15 visitors overall spread across the evening. The High Street area seemed quieter than of late, however it is the middle of the month and between pay days!
A member of the Safe Exit team joined the bus tonight and accompanied the Support vehicle crew. Three Street Sex Workers were located and seen by the Safe Exit worker. They were also offered and accepted coffee from the Support vehicle team.
Of the 15 visitors, there were no injuries for the Red Cross to deal with but two very drunk females, one of whom had to be escorted by volunteers to the bus. Both were kept warm, given plenty of water and after staying with us for observation, left with friends.
One man enquired about the bus and was impressed with the volunteer staffing and donated £20.00. He declined to give any details. Another man also enquired about the whole service as he was from Lincoln City Council and showed interest in looking at something similar for his area.
We are now holding a stock of flip flops and were able to hand out 3 pairs this evening for genuine foot problems – blisters, broken heels!!
Other visitors came on board for re hydration and a safe place to wait for lifts and taxis.
Friday, April 9 2010
This was a productive and varied night for the service with a good number of volunteers on duty together with three Red Cross staff. The support vehicle was available following last weeks problem with a fuel line and was put to use visiting locations across the Towns and also being used to support the Red Cross and assist visitors.
Overall we dealt with 18 visitors, 10 after 01.00. There were four medical calls including one which prevented an ambulance from being called, and two specific uses for the Support vehicle.
Our first medical visitor was a young man who attended with a suspected broken hand. He had been playing on a ‘punch bag’ machine in one of the pubs and thought he had damaged his hands. After examination it was thought it was soft tissue damage and no obvious broken bones. He was advised to visit his GP or A&E.
We now have a supply of flip flops and two pairs were required on Friday night for the usual very sore feet from very high heels. One 18 year old male was brought to the bus by the Street Pastors. He was drunk and unsteady and in danger of being arrested for being drunk and incapable, having been refused entry to some of the pubs. He sat with us for an hour or so, sobering up and keeping warm – coffee etc. He left to walk home to Strood, declining a lift from the Support vehicle and in possession of a top from our supply of donated clothes.
The support vehicle made contact with one Street Sex worker who was ok but declined some coffee. Over the next 2 Fridays workers from the Safe Exit project will be with the volunteers and will attempt to make contact with the girls on the Street.
The support vehicle was also used to convey one very drunk young lady home back to Chatham. She spent some time on the bus having been assisted to it by Red Cross and checked over and observed as she was non responsive at first. Having improved she was then take home accompanied by a friend.
The support vehicle was also sent to a call via CCTV to a man apparently choking near Star Hill, Rochester. It transpired that Street Pastors got to him and he was seen to be ok having ‘choked’ on his hot chips. He declined to give the volunteers any details.
Red Cross and Bus staff attended the Casino Rooms to a report of a woman having difficulty breathing following a suspected panic attack on the premises. Red Cross were able to calm and reassure her and volunteers were able to contact her mother to come and collect her. This was another incident where in the past the staff at the Casino Rooms would have called for an ambulance.
Overall a busy and varied night, with good interaction between all staff, Street Pastors, licensed premises and CCTV, providing necessary support when called upon.
Saturday, April 3 2010
Easter Saturday was the first of our – 1 Saturday a month nights – and proved to be busy and productive.
We went back up to 20 visitors including 3 medical calls; again the majority of the visitors were dealt with after midnight.
Rochester was busy and with a themed night at the Casino Rooms the attendance seemed to be higher than of late.
The three medical interventions were all alcohol related. One young lady suffered a sprained ankle whilst walking (again in high heeled shoes) She was treated with ice and bandaged up and left with friends.
The second call was to a woman outside the Casino Rooms who was extremely drunk. She was dealt with at the location by reassurance and lots of water in an effort to sober her up. She had become separated from friends but was eventually reunited and taken home
A third visitor was a male who suffered a bloody nose – not from an assault, he said, but from falling over whilst dancing. He was cleaned up and appreciative of the assistance given.
A young woman was turned away by a taxi as she was too drunk and incapable of looking after herself whilst alone. She had not been out for over nine months (since the birth of her baby) and had very much over done it for Easter! She stayed with the bus until volunteers through researching her phone, found a friend who was able to collect her in another taxi.
As the weather was poor – rain and wind – we were popular as a place to seek cover and a hot drink whilst waiting for taxis and lifts. We were kept busy right up until 3.00 when we were able to close up, although there were still a lot of people hanging around the area of the Casino Rooms.
Friday, April 2 2010
This was Good Friday and the first Bank Holiday of the Easter Weekend. 5 volunteers and 2 Red Cross worker were on duty; not bad considering the un-social hours on a holiday weekend.
Visitor numbers were down on the last few weeks, but as this was a long weekend it was expected to be a quieter Friday than usual. We had a good news story as a young man who had originally attended the bus in January with his young girlfriend as homeless, came back to update us on his progress.
On the original visit they (aged 19 and 16) were eventually found accommodation for the night. Since then he has secured a job and, with support found accommodation in Rochester and is now leading a more settled life style. He was very grateful for the intervention and assistance on his visit to the Bus.
Another young man also returned. He had visited on three occasions presenting alcohol and self harming problems. He came back this time with a girl friend, in a more positive frame of mind. Although still trying to find somewhere permanent to live, he is touch with support services and hopes to have a local flat within a few weeks.
There were no medical interventions this evening with the majority of the 15 visitors requesting hot drinks, re hydration or somewhere to stay and wait for taxis and lifts.
Friday, March 24 2010
I left the car park at 2330 hours as the Bus was scheduled to be used again the next day.
There was a good turnout of volunteers this evening. The first part of the evening was quiet but seemed to gather momentum after midnight.
Visitors were using the bus up until 0300, and at close down, 27 recorded visitors had been seen by the volunteers and Red Cross – the highest number yet.
Numbers were split as 19 male and 8 female, with 3 medical interventions. No ambulances were required during the evening. Again the majority of the visitors called in for water/drinks and other refreshment; some were victims of very high heels and therefore needed flip flops or were taking advantage of the bus as a safe haven to sit and wait for lifts and taxis.
The three medical interventions were drink related. One indeed was to treat a suspected sprained ankle following a high heel topple. A bloody nose was cleaned up following an assault, and a very sick male was assisted to aid his recovery.
Friday, March 19 2010
Following the serious assault that took place in the early hours of Sunday morning, (March 14), the consensus was that the towns would be quiet.
This was not the case as we saw 21 visitors dealt with by the staff and Red Cross – 17 casual and four medical.
There were some early callers on to the bus mainly for advice and lifts home and thinking we were the new burger/Kebab van!
Staff received a call via the CCTV centre from the George Vaults that a woman was not feeling well and appeared to be drifting in and out of consciousness.
Staff and Red Cross attended on foot and after initial treatment and assessment it was thought that her drinks had been ‘spiked.’
An ambulance was required to further asses and then convey to hospital.
The Corn Exchange had hosted a Pharmacists ball with many visitors from outside the Medway Towns attending.
A member of door staff attended the bus with a hand bag found in the High Street. Some enquiries by bus staff via a mobile phone in the bag, made contact with the bag owner’s sister who was also at the event.
She had flown down from Aberdeen earlier in the day to attend the Ball.
The Red Cross team dealt with four medical incidents, including the one mentioned above.
An ambulance had to be called to a very drunk lady who was attempting to hail a taxi in Blue Boar Lane.
She was wearing one boot, was dishevelled and very incoherent and collapsed in the road.
We attended and despite attempts to rouse her she was non-responsive.
A young female received a cut to a finger (not assault) and was treated within the bus, as was another drunk young male.
He was with friends who brought him onto the bus having noted where we were earlier in the evening and were in possession of one of our cards. He was given plenty of water and eventually left with his friends by private car
The bus continues to attract groups of friends waiting for lifts or taxis – they see it as a safe haven – instead of waiting on the street.
Some interesting stats to finish off with this week: The last nine weeks, since the Casino Rooms re opened, we have seen 143 visitors out of a total of 429 since the start of the project (total 41 weeks).
This accounts for 33 % of all visitors for just 21% of total activity time.These nine weeks has seen an average of 15 visitors per night.
Of the total 74 medical reasons for attendance over the 41 evenings, 23 (31%) have occurred over the last 9 week period.The gap between male and female visitors has reduced to just 29(200 Male 229 female)
Friday, March 12 2010
The use of the bus continues to attract a variety of visitors and indeed visitor numbers are still on the increase since the Casino Rooms re opened.
Talking to door staff at near by premises, the volunteers are aware that there is a general increase in those visiting Rochester pubs and bars before moving onto the Casino Rooms.
This evening we dealt with 17 visitors (3 medical). The majority of interventions are taking place after midnight.
Two new volunteers joined the crews for taster sessions and stayed through until 3am.
Our first callers were a couple from Dartford who work for the NHS (within Primary Health Care) in that area of Kent. They were very interested in the project, recognising the potential use and impact on front line treatment and A and Emergency/999 work.
We utilised the support vehicle to convey a female home – she was lost from friends and not feeling well – not a medical/hospital case. Taxis were busy at the time and she did not feel capable of making her own way home.
The three medical interventions were all male victims of assault within the area of Blue Boar Lane and Corporation Street.
All were from 1am onwards. The first received was treated for a cut to her head, which was superficial and treated locally by Red Cross.
The second was more serious and appeared to have been a random attack on two men.
One was not injured but the other sustained a cut to his face and a bite mark to his right arm. He was treated by Red Cross staff and advised to attend hospital for a blood test regarding the bite.
This man would have been subject of a 999 ambulance call if the bus had not been in the immediate vicinity.
The third assault was again a random attack this time the victim sustained a suspected broken arm, bruising to his ribs and swelling to his right eye.
Again he was brought to the bus by a friend as we were near by the area of the assault; otherwise this would have been a 999 call.
An ambulance arrived at the bus and he was handed over to them.
Numerous callers were for re hydration, waiting for friends and taxis. One female came to the bus in an emotional and distressed condition, also under the influence of drink. She was unable to get home to Whitstable and had lost contact with her friends.
Following some phone calls we were able to re unite her and she left with her friends.
Friday, March 5 2010
Again the use of the Bus was justified right up to 0300, as the volunteers were kept busy with a number of callers and incidents.
The steady average of 14/15 visitors was maintained as we saw 10 males and 4 females across the evening. There appears to be a change in the male/female attendance since the Casino Rooms opened, with an increase in groups of males attending and males being injured.
The totals since launch are currently: 180 males/211 females; 324 visits; 67 medical interventions; (total 391); 40 Support vehicle uses and 23 ambulances prevented.
There were two medical needs on Friday night, both males and both as a result of assaults, with both declining to report the incidents. They both occurred in the vicinity of the Casino Rooms.
The first was a male who was waiting outside the Club when he was punched in the face causing at least a bloody nose, possible broken. He was about to call an ambulance, but saw the bus and presented himself for treatment. He was embarrassed as he stated he was an amateur boxer and should have seen the punch coming.
The second injured male was also punched in the face. This time whilst in the Casino Rooms and was escorted to the bus by door staff. The Red Cross personnel had just left so I had to utilise my first aid (rusty) skills into action. This was just a simply nose bleed and did not look broken. He was cleaned up and given plenty of tissue and absorbent pads.
Kent Police, Council Licensing Officers and UK Border officers came on board for refreshment in between their duty within Rochester. They were visiting various premises across the towns carrying out enforcement where necessary.
Other callers were for re hydration, warmth and waiting for lifts. One young lady came to the bus having been ejected from the Casino Rooms for casing a disturbance. She was clearly drunk, stated she had lost her handbag and that her friend, whom was staying with her was still in the club. This was approaching 0245 and despite the club trying to locate her friend and our efforts to search the immediate area for her handbag, she remained on the bus until nearly 0300.
We were all set to take her home to Strood, when her fiancé arrived looking for her. Her friend had already left the club and returned home thinking that she too had gone home. Both were grateful for our intervention.
Friday, February 26 2010
A very busy evening utilising the Bus and the Support vehicle, with a total of 23 visitor contacts including 2 medical interventions.
The two medical contacts were opposite ends of the evening and different in terms of severity. The first was as we were setting up; a lady was supplied with a dressing/plaster for a cut foot and blister.
Towards the end of the evening a lady was brought to the bus by door staff from the Casino Rooms suffering from a panic attack. She was handed over to the Red Cross staff and then disclosed that she had been assaulted in the night club. She had reddening to the neck and asked that the Police be called. The Police attended and after treatment they took her home to follow up the allegation.
A husband and wife from Swale came on board to look over the bus – more out of curiosity, but were interested in potential hiring, and took leaflets and details away with them.
A new volunteer started this evening and worked well with the team on duty. She did some foot patrolling with an experienced volunteer and interacted well with both door staff and the public. There were lots of visitors for tea/coffee and water as the night progressed; re hydration and place to wait for a taxi or an arranged lift, with the ‘Big Orange Bus’ acting as the sign post, as some visitors refer to it.
We stayed in situ until 0310 as the Casino Rooms finally emptied, there appeared at this time to be no confrontations. The finish time is justified as over the past 6 evenings visitor numbers have increased to an average of 15, with 2-3 medical calls per night.
Friday, February 19 2010
Again the night started fairly quiet but the influence of the Casino Rooms now being open is obvious within Rochester centre.
The location around Blue Boar Lane, Corporation Street and the High Street justifies siting of the Bus within Blue Boar Lane.
There were a total of 14 visitors; 10 casual and 4 medical interventions (2 from the Casino Rooms).
The support vehicle was used to convey one injured female to Medway’s A and E and whilst away from the main Bus another injured person was seen then sent to hospital via a Taxi.
One ambulance was prevented by use of the Bus’s medical provision.
The two Casino Room injuries were a split lip following an altercation inside the club – the injured party was brought to the bus by door staff.
The other was an eye injury again following an incident in the club and again referred to the bus by the door staff. A female also presented herself to the bus having tripped over. She was seen by Red Cross and it was suspected that a number of her toes were broken.
She was conveyed to A and E by the support vehicle.The 4th medical incident was a male who came to the bus with an injury to his hand – cause unknown and not disclosed.
It appeared to be very tender possibly sprained and was dealt with by Red Cross.Other visitors to the bus were for the customary re hydration, hot drinks, as it was another bitterly cold night, and waits for taxis and lifts.
One middle aged couple attended the bus to enquire about the original set up and funding. They were from the Gravesham area and were impressed with the facility. They felt that something similar was necessary in Gravesend and Dartford and were intending to make further enquiries.
Friday February 12 2010
Tonight was another busy yet interesting night for the team. We were joined in Blue Boar Lane by the Chlamydia and Sexual health teams from Medway Council/NHS Medway who worked with us from 9pm through until midnight.
In all they dealt with 16 visitors who agreed to Chlamydia testing. It also gave the teams the opportunities to interact and offer advice with members of the public across the night time economy.
Our work started as soon as we set up with volunteers and Red Cross called via the Safer Medway radio to a pub in Rochester High street, where a male was under the influence of drink.
Because of this the support vehicle was used to bring him back to the bus where he was assessed and given water and tea. It turned out that he had learnt of the death of a close friend earlier in the day and was finding it difficult to cope. He remained with us until collected by friends.
Another male attended the bus, under the influence of drink and confused. He asked for directions to Rochester railway station, left the bus but soon returned as he could not find the way.
Two volunteers walked with him to the station and ensured he got onto the right platform.
There were a number of visitors coming on board to keep warm whilst waiting for lifts or taxis, many of whom usually have a hot drink or water whilst waiting.
It appears the bus is becoming a known ‘signpost’ for people waiting for lifts as it is clearly a distinctive landmark in the area.
A young lady, celebrating her 18th birthday was ‘escorted’ to the bus by two friends as she had clearly over indulged. She was very cold and again given hot drinks and a foil blanket whilst awaiting a lift from friends.
Three other women, this time celebrating a 40th birthday came on board for the very same reason – she had certainly enjoyed her evening but was by now starting to regret it. They too were given hot drinks until the woman’s husband attended and collected all three.
All in all a worthwhile evening; lots of varied uses of the service. 16 Chlamydia tests; 14 visitors to the bus and four uses of the support vehicle.