Northern Quarter’s ‘Safe Haven’ for vulnerable people at night closes it doors

Safe Haven, the initiative introduced in 2015 to provide support to vulnerable individuals on a Saturday night-out in the city centre, has closed its doors.

The project, based at Nexus Art Café on Dale Street in the Northern Quarter, had been funded by Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council, but has now been suspended indefinitely.

The scheme offered people in vulnerable situations a safe refuge after a night out in the city centre, providing hot drinks, phone chargers and assistance in arranging transport home.

“Safe Haven was set up to cater for people who were vulnerable due to alcohol intoxication. We also catered to people who had missed their last train home, lost their friends, their shoes, their mobile or their money,” said the café’s manager, Leanne Richards.

“The service was much appreciated when it was used but we need to think of a different strategy as it could have been better utilised.”

The cafe was the only establishment of its kind to provide a safe and supportive environment between 10pm-6am on Saturday nights.

It was intended to relieve the demand on GMP’s frontline services during that busy period, with police officers referring vulnerable individuals to the café while they focussed their time and resources on more urgent matters.

However, it has now been deemed economically unviable by GMP.

Chief inspector Caroline Hemingway said: “We are currently working with Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner and a number of volunteer groups and partners to deliver a programme to support vulnerable people in the future.

“Officers will continue to provide a high visibility patrol in the city and any issues should be brought to their attention. We will share any updates with the public when a new service has become available.”

This Saturday will be the first weekend since June 2015 that Safe Haven will not be opening its doors to revellers in need.

Ms Richards told MM that she was confident of the Safe Haven reopening at some point, and claimed that it is a case of ‘when and not if’.

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