Open Road operates SOS bus services. In Colchester, a full size bus and support mini-bus operate in the High Street every Friday and Saturday night and Sunday bank holidays.
The buses, staffed wholly by trained volunteers, offer a safe haven, help diffuse trouble and provide medical support to people who need it. This helps reduce the negative impact of the night time economy on these towns, their businesses and their residents.
The SOS teams coordinate with other teams who are out and about on weekend nights – street pastors, doormen at pubs & clubs, the Police, Ambulance Service and A&E, so that issues can be quickly assessed and dealt with.
Open Road partners with Remote Medic UK (www.remotemedic.org.uk) who provide healthcare professionals, including paramedic practitioners and doctors, who are able to respond to medical emergencies as well as assessing and treating minor injuries and illness with the aim of reducing 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.
The SOS services are also used during the day. The Buses are available for use 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 Colchester community Safety Partnership, Essex Police, North East Essex Primary Care Trust, Essex County Council.
But we also need over £110,000 per year to pay for a full time staff coordinator, volunteer training, CRB 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 and Essex Appropriate Adult service manager or coordinator at Head Office on 01206 369782 or go to our donate page.