Trisha campaigns for nightclub worker

PUBLISHED: 07:30 28 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 22 October 2010

TV personality Trisha has urged nightclubs in Norwich to help retain the services of a nightclub worker who helped revellers who were drunk or had taken drugs to get home safely.

TV personality Trisha Goddard has urged nightclubs in Norwich to help retain the services of an outreach worker who helped revellers who were drunk or had taken drugs to get home safely.

In her fluorescent jacket, Sophie has become a well known face with club staff and those out drinking in the city's late night district and some venues even gave her a table so that young people in distress would know where to go for help and advice.

She was employed by the Matthew Project in partnership with Operation Enterprise, a multi-agency initiative aimed at reducing crime in and around nightclubs and ensuring a safer environment, and has given safety advice to more than 2,000 young people since September 2004.

Going out on her rounds at 9pm and often finishing at 3am, Sophie visited pubs and clubs at weekends and dealt not just with those needing help getting home, but also youngsters with problems at home and school and girls who were worried that they had fallen pregnant.

Funding for the post came to an end in April and the Matthew Project dug into its own budget to extend the service for another three months.

Now that period is almost up, Trisha has lent her weight to attempts to call for the funding to allow the service to carry on.

In her EDP column, she urged nightclubs to take up the challenge and help raise the £10,000-a-year needed for Sophie to stay in her post.

"Everyone's quick to moan about binge drinking and generally unsafe behaviour around Prince of Wales Road at weekend nights," she said.

"The nightclub worker was a woman who spent the evening in these clubs alerting youngsters to dangers, such as having their drinks spiked or helping those who'd either had too much to drink or taken drugs."

Julian Bryant, director of the Matthew Project, said: "This specialist outreach service is unfortunately necessary in a culture where binge drinking and recreational drug use is widespread.

"We welcome Trisha's challenge and would love to see the community getting behind this initiative to make Norwich safer for young people."

Insp Peter Walsh, of Bethel Street police station, in Norwich, said: "When Operation Enterprise was set up to address the problem of drunken violence in the city centre it was based upon a close partnership between police, licensees, the council, residents and other key partners including the SOS Bus and the volunteer rescue boat . . . The successes that have been achieved over the last two years have been achieved as a result of that close and continuing partnership.

"The nightclub worker employed by The Matthew Project played a pivotal role in making contacts with young people and working with other agencies to represent their interests and raise concerns about issues affecting them. Her work has been invaluable."

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