Volunteers from First Aid Support Thetford brave the cold to help keep those on night out safe
PUBLISHED: 19:09 02 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:18 02 December 2017
On what was one of the coldest nights of the year a group of hardy souls braved the elements to help the vulnerable in their town.
Volunteers from First Aid Support Thetford (FAST) spent from 9pm until 3.30am on Friday night patrolling around Thetford.
They were armed with first aid kits, foil blankets, chocolate and water, ready to help those who had a bit too much to drink, who were unable to get home, who were injured or emotionally distressed.
The new SOS initiative, the idea of Sharon Thompson from FAST, will continue throughout December as the party season hits full swing.
Supported by Breckland Police the volunteers will patrol areas including Market Place, King Street and Riverside Walk.
The police can be called in to offer assistance if needed and will also continue their patrols of the town and routes leading out of the town to flag up anyone who may need help.
It is hoped the service can help free up police resources.
Mrs Thompson said: “We thought with it coming up to Christmas we know the ambulance service and police are stretched and we always said we would do the SOS bus in Norwich but we never did.
“So we thought we would give it a go and see what happens. At the end of December it might be a decision to continue it throughout the year.”
For the first night, eight of the FAST volunteers took part to gauge what they would see and what would need to be done.
One young woman at just after 2am was a little distressed and was comforted by FAST members with water and a sick bag.
Her boyfriend was called to help take her home.
A few more people who had enjoyed their night a little too much were also offered some help.
Ellie Lobley has been part of FAST for seven years.
The 22-year-old said: “I have been with the group since I was 15 and I have never left.
“I think it is the thing of helping at their most vulnerable. I have always wanted to do first aid and help look after people.”
From next week, there will be two pairs of FAST members helping the SOS service.
Mrs Thompson said there had been a positive response from the community with volunteers offering their assistance.
She hopes they can join the FAST volunteers.