Volunteers needed to keep SOS Bus operating on Prince of Wales Road

SOS Bus on Prince of Wales Road, Norwich on a Saturday night.

SOS Bus on Prince of Wales Road, Norwich on a Saturday night. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Volunteers are needed to help keep Norwich's life-saving SOS Bus in operation.

Norwich's SOS Bus. Picture: Archant Library

Norwich's SOS Bus. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant

The service, located on Prince of Wales Road, provides first aid and assistance for revellers in the heart of the city's clubland.

Organisers say it has helped more than 11,500 people in just over a decade, and saved more than 1,500 accident and emergency admissions.

But the service is now appealing for help in order to keep it running ahead of some of the busiest nights of the year.

Jenny Smith, SOS Bus co-ordinator, said: 'Our volunteers act as the first point of contact for those whose well-being is threatened by an inability to get home, illness or injury, emotional distress or other vulnerability.

'The SOS Bus and medical unit have saved over 1,500 A&E admissions since 2008, and a cost saving of over £250,000 per year in ambulance visits to A&E.'

'Without volunteers the SOS Bus wouldn't be able to provide such a vital resource to the bustling nightlife In Norwich city centre.

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'If anyone is interested in volunteering for us, particularly those who could help with driving, then we would love to hear from you.'

The SOS Bus project was launched in 2001 following the deaths of James Toms, 21, and Nick Green, 16.

Mr Green went missing following a night out in Norwich on January 18, 2001 to celebrate his impending 17th birthday. His body was recovered from the River Yare a month later.

Mr Toms' body was pulled out from the same stretch of river three months earlier following a night out.

The project is run by the OPEN Youth Trust and continues to be at the forefront of major incidents in the city, including the recent fatal stabbing in Rose Lane.

People who use the bright yellow bus can access first aid and seek advice in a safe environment from St John Ambulance and support volunteers.

There is also a fully-stocked medical unit, which is run by paramedics, and a mini-bus for transport support.

The service typically operates between 9.30pm and 3.30am on Friday and Saturday nights.

• Anyone who can help the project by committing to at least one shift per month should email sosbus@opennorwich.org.uk or call 01603 252116.