Today the Steel City Courier is proud to announce the astonishing success of our campaign to keep a notorious Sheffield street safer.
We launched Claim back West Street on 15 October – but even we did not anticipate the resounding success and support we had from police, MPs, bars and organisations around the city .
After a terrifying rise in drink spiking’s over the past two months, the campaign aimed to make a difference by having “safe spaces” on West Street, pushing for all West Street bars to introduce anti-spiking measures and make street volunteers more prevalent on the streets.
We did this by rallying the council, the landlords and the police to come together to support us by pledging active, visible change.
Campaign backer Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heely, said: “Agencies across Sheffield are now stepping in and stepping up in order to find a solution to this ongoing problem. Repetition is really important in making sure we are amplifying these messages to make change in the city.”
Stephen Lonnia, Chief Licensing Officer and Head of Licensing at Sheffield City Council said: “We are only going to succeed in this if we all work together in order to make change in the city. In the medium to long term, it would be amazing if we could get at least one, if not two spaces in the city where we can have volunteers in a building where people know they can go.
“In the short term, we will be able to look at some joint operations involving the Council and South Yorkshire Police during the week to keep the streets safe.
“In addition, we hopefully have some funding we can invest into anti-spiking measures including: glass covers and spikey’s. We have around £5000 to be able to do this and then distribute them accordingly across the city.”
South Yorkshire Police vowed they have a variety of ideas to work with various organisations in order to achieve their long term aims. The possibility of students assisting as street volunteers and giving out help sheets is a consideration.
Campaign lead from Steel City Courier Hannah Youds said: “Working on this campaign has been such an emotional journey.”
“We have really pushed for the city to get behind us and believe we’ve already made a difference to whether people feel safe or not, especially with the backing of MPs, Councillors and Sheffield-based organisations.
“With the support we have received so far, we have planted the seed for claiming back West Street.”