SAFE ZONE BUS
Dundee Safe Zone is a local charity. Every Friday and Saturday night from 10pm until 4am, the Safe Zone Bus can be found in Dundee City Centre, providing a safe zone for whoever may find themselves in trouble. In this friendly and warm environment, the team within the Safe Zone Bus provide people with a refuge, as well as advice and support.
From our point of view, we wouldn’t have a Safe Zone Bus if it wasn’t for the incredible generosity of John and the talents of Froggy, Kane and Mike. We were hopeful when we bought the bus that the community would step forward to help, but the transformation of the bus was a bigger task than any of us could have imagined. John didn’t give up on us and delivered us an incredible conversion of the new bus, ready to use from Fresher’s Week onwards. Everyone knows that the Safe Zone Bus will help people who need to sober up, find a safe place to wait for friends or even get first aid, but between September and December, we performed 11 mental health interventions on people who were distressed or suicidal. I know that John is a passionate supporter of Andy’s Mans Club (who do an incredible thing) but he’s also supported these 11 individuals to get help that they needed at a crisis moment. We have a saying on Safe Zone, that not all heroes wear capes and that definitely applies to John.
Brian** (not his real name) had struggled with mental health issues on and off in his younger years. He started a college course but was struggling with attendance and coursework, and was on the verge of dropping out. Brian had been taken off the bridge by Police Scotland on more than one occasion and was brought to the bus by the Police when he was found in the street, under the influence of alcohol and very distressed. The staff on shift spent three hours with Brian, offering support while we awaited an assessment from a local mental health team. He was allowed to leave with a friend on the advice of the mental health team, but staff urged him to come back to the bus the following evening if he needed support.
Over the coming weeks, Brian visited the bus on a number of occasions, all of the Team Leaders had been briefed on his story and he spent a lot of time with the team. With our support, he got back into college and caught up and graduated from his course in May of this year. He has now started an apprenticeship with a local firm and recently contacted our project coordinator Arwen, to update the team on his progress. “Without the Safe Zone, I’m not sure where I would be today. They were so supportive of me, and really encouraged me to not give up on my college course. I was at rock bottom when I was first taken to the bus and had kept things secret from my family and friends as I didn’t want them to be disappointed in me. Knowing I had a safe place to go and talk was brilliant and the team were so nice it was really easy to open up to them. I also had Arwen checking up on me during the week and offering advice about college as she’d done a course there. The Safe Zone Bus is a brilliant thing to have in Dundee.”