A new service in Edinburgh hopes to relieve the pressure on emergency services
A group of volunteers is aiming to ease the pressure on emergency services in Edinburgh by helping tend to drunk and vulnerable people at weekends.
Street Assist, made up of 40 local residents, has launched an on-street triage bus in the city’s King Stable’s Road between the popular night hotspots of Lothian Road and the Grassmarket.
The group aims to relieve the pressure on local police and ambulance services by tending to people who need minor assistance, mainly as a result of having too much to drink, but are also there to offer support to anyone who requires it.
The team will be out in the bus on Friday and Saturday nights from 8pm to 2am after introducing its service at the weekend.
Neil Logan, director of community interest company Roadshow Solutions, which runs Street Assist, said: “Many people become vulnerable due to a range of circumstances and if we can stop just one person coming to harm because of our intervention then we know our service is worthwhile.
If we can stop just one person coming to harm because of our intervention then we know our service is worthwhile
“All of our volunteers have dedicated their time and skills to this new project and many are highly trained medical and care professionals.
“Some are volunteering to help gain the necessary experience to apply to join the emergency services and some volunteer just because they want to help but above all Roadshow Solutions value each and every person who decides to volunteer in what can sometimes be very challenging situations.”
Logan, was the former director for Scotland of Working on Wheels (WoW), which operates the SafeZone project at Cathedral Lane in Edinburgh. Although a similar project as Street Assist, the two are in no way linked and Logan feels the city is big enough for both of them.
He added: “In times of austerity where public services are facing challenging times and our emergency services are pushed to the limit Street Assist knows from previous experience that we can help save police time which allows them to focus on public safety, allows the Scottish Ambulance Service to respond to real emergencies, and reduce the number of people attending accident and emergency.
“Our interventions contribute towards the city being a safer environment, and we ensure that individuals we help are free from harm, or the risk harm.
“We are aware that other initiatives do similar great work but we believe any new initiative like Street Assist will only enhance what is currently on offer.
“Please feel free to stop by and say hello to us whether public or emergency services and if you do find yourself in difficult circumstances you can be assured we will help.”