AN INITIATIVE to help keep people safe on a night out is returning following a winter break.

The Weymouth Safe Space project, funded by Dorset Council, is based in St Mary's Church in Weymouth town centre at weekends and has been out of use since funding was paused in January.

It is used as a base for the Weymouth Street Pastors, a group of volunteers who provide medical support for night-time revellers and anyone on the streets on Friday and Saturday nights who might need assistance.

As it's a valuable resource helping to keep people safe in the night-time economy, efforts were made to try and keep the space running throughout the winter, however these efforts was unsuccessful.

The funding from Dorset Council was paused as the council said it had to ‘be prudent with the funding to make sure it is spent in the most beneficial way.’

Safe Space will once again be open from around 9.45pm to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays and people can access it via the entrance on Maiden Street as before.

Andrew Reid, Street Pastor Coordinator, said: “We are really pleased to have Safe Space back, although I understand why the council had to manage their funding.

“We are getting busier at the weekends, and we are expecting a really busy weekend when Safe Space opens back up as it’s Easter, it’s a bank holiday and it’s Quayside Music Festival and this tends to be our busiest time.”

Although the street pastors were able to manage without a place to use as a base in the winter, it would have helped them a lot.

Mr Reid said: “There have been around three or four times since January that we could have done with it. We were sat waiting for an ambulance for about two and a half hours when we could have taken the person inside Safe Space and taken care of them.”

Not only is Safe Space returning, but so are the medical and security staff who are ‘really happy’ to be back working alongside the street pastors.

Mr Reid added: “We have managed and coped – we are pretty resourceful, and it was going back to how we were before Safe Space. It didn’t faze us - we have still managed to get people back to their hotels safely."

A spokesperson for the Weymouth Street Pastors added: “As Street Pastors, we are so pleased to have this amazing team back working with us and supporting the volunteer work we do in the night-time economy. This is such a vital resource for us to have.”

Overall, the Street Pastor Coordinator explained that they are all ‘really chuffed’ to once again have use of the service and they also have ‘a couple of new street pastors that have not yet seen Safe Space.’

Dorset Council have revealed that they have ‘provisionally secured some additional funding’ for the future of Safe Space.

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said: "Since its inception, Safe Space has operated between Easter Weekend and New Year’s Eve, so this year is no different to previous years.

"We have provisionally secured some additional funding for this important community project which we know is valued by local people and businesses."