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SOS Buses

Open Road operates SOS bus services in Colchester High Street and Chelmsford City Centre. Our specially adapted buses are on site at weekends to provide a safe haven and medical support to people who need it.

The Colchester Bus and support mini-bus are on duty every Friday and Saturday night in Colchester High Street throughout the year.

The new Chelmsford Bus has raised enough funding to be on site every Saturday night and on some Fridays at busy times of the year.  Our aim, if we can raise more funding, is to operate the Chelmsford Bus every Friday night as well.  If you can help, please get in touch on 01206 369782 or go to our donate page.

Both of our specially adapted buses are staffed entirely by trained volunteers. As well as offering a safe haven for late-night visitors, our volunteers help diffuse trouble and provide medical support to people who need it. This helps reduce the negative impact of the night time economy on the businesses and residents of Colchester and Chelmsford.

The SOS teams coordinate with other support services – street pastors, doormen at pubs & clubs, the Police, Ambulance Service and A&E. This means that incidents can be quickly coordinated, assessed and dealt with.

Open Road partners with Remote Medic UK ( who provide on-board healthcare professionals, including paramedic practitioners and doctors; they respond to medical emergencies and can treat minor injuries and illness. This reduces ambulance calls and A&E admissions.

Non-medical support ranges from helping people to get home if they are disoriented or have lost their friends, victims of crime, being a safe haven for those who feel threatened or at risk, dealing with disputes and monitoring unwell people if an ambulance has been called.

Daytime Services​

The Colchester SOS Bus and mini-bus are also available during the day as mobile resources in towns, schools and communities.  They help promote community and youth engagement, contact with hard to reach groups, advocacy and volunteering, promoting partner agencies and their services, drug awareness, road safety and more. 

How are the SOS Buses funded?

The buses cannot operate without our team of trained volunteers who make sure the buses are staffed every single weekend of the year.

We receive generous funding from our partners – statutory bodies, charitable trusts and donations. Our current supporters include Essex Community Foundation, Essex Police Crime Commissioner’s Office, Colchester Council, Chelmsford City Council, Essex Police Crime Commissioner’s Office, Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, McDonald’s, Pub Watch and Essex County Council.

To keep the current services on the road, we need over £170,000 annually for a full time staff coordinator, volunteer training, security checks, promotion, maintenance and running costs. Funding is a constant challenge and we welcome offers of funding or other kinds of support.

For information, donation or if you’d like to help/volunteer, please contact the SOS Bus Service Manager at Head Office on 01206 369782 or go to our donate page.