Volunteers hailed for helping to keep SOS Bus on streets of Norwich

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

Bosses of Norwich's life-saving SOS Bus have today hailed the vital role played by volunteers in keeping the safe haven on the streets.

The bus was launched as a place of safety for pub and club-goers after the river deaths of Nick Green, 16, and James Toms, 21, in the city in 2001.

But bosses of the bus were forced to issue an SOS of their own last year after reaching a critically low number of volunteers - not seen since 2013 - which actually stopped the service going out into the city's clubland.

The appeal was met with an 'overwhelming' response from people interested in finding out more about how they can help as a result of which new volunteers have now been taken on.

Jenny Smith, SOS Bus co-ordinator, said: 'We've had a really good response from the community wanting to volunteer for the SOS Bus.

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'We have already taken on nearly a dozen new volunteers as a result of our plea for more volunteers last year, with more applications in the pipeline.

'We know from the feedback we've received from families and friends of those who have used the service, just what an important lifeline the bus is for the night-time economy of Norwich, something which wouldn't be there without volunteers.'

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As previously reported, the bus needed 15 more people to bolster the team up to the ideal 40 and bosses urged our readers to help.

Speaking last year, Miss Smith said: 'It is disappointing when the bus doesn't go out and we are low on numbers at the moment. We are looking for people who just really want to help. Someone who is really caring, supportive and not judgmental when people are in trouble.'

The bus, support van and medical unit park opposite the KFC on Prince of Wales Road every Friday and Saturday night between 9pm and 3am.

It is manned by a team including two support workers, a paramedic, two St John Ambulance staff, three drivers and security.

Have you been helped by the SOS Bus? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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