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Help zone for Exeter drinkers proves a success

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: December 21, 2013

Mint_Methodist _Church

Mint_Methodist _Church

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A so-called help zoneset up in Exeter for revellers who over-indulged at Christmas parties is being hailed a success and could become a regular feature.

Run as a trial on so called Builders’ Friday, traditionally the busiest night for Christmas party goers, an area was set aside in the Mint Methodist Church in Fore Street.

The aim was to help those who were in difficulties following the excesses of Christmas parties, be it from injury, drinking too much alcohol or being a victim of violence.

Keith Owen, the city’s lead councillor for licensing, was present throughout the evening alongside the police, ambulance crews and street pastors.

Cllr Owen said: “It was quieter than normal, we think because of the weather, with relatively few people out on the streets.

“In all we had 16 people who needed help.

“Five of them told us they were homeless and, although it wasn’t set up for them, we gave them a cup of tea.

“The rest were a combination of people who had had too much to drink and were not feeling well and were injured.

“One person had been hit on the head and was taken to hospital.

“The initial feedback is that it was a worthwhile exercise and worked very well indeed.

“If the street pastors found someone needing assistance they brought them to the help zone and then went back out of the streets to help others.

“The help zone therefore freed them up to help more people.”

Cllr Owen added that the help zone could become a regular thing in the city at the weekend.

He said: “We will have a proper de-briefing after Christmas.

“We know it works in Nottingham and Torquay so we could be looking to set it up on a regular basis in Exeter.”

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