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Just the ticket – buses join the Safe Space initiative

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Safe Space buses, operated by Stagecoach West, were launched at an event at SkillZone in Gloucester this afternoon.

The Safe Space initiative was started by Chrissie Lowery, who runs Craftology in Stroud, following a series of rapes, attacks and sexual assaults on women in the town last year. It involves businesses displaying a sticker to alert people that they can go and ask for help. This has now been extended with all Stagecoach West buses across the county taking part – and more to come online in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire in the coming months.

“We were approached by the Safe Space scheme and they wondered whether buses could be added and become a safe haven,” explained Rachel Geliamassi, Managing Director of Stagecoach West.

“Chrissie and some of her police colleagues met the whole Stagecoach team and as soon as we heard about it, it was an immediate ‘yes, 100 per cent, we need to be involved with this’.

“The drivers use their initiative because any situation that occurs is going to be different. It’s a case of taking that person immediately away from that vulnerability. I trust my front-line team members to be able to use that good initiative and so I know our community will be in safe hands.”

Chris Nelson, Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Tackling men’s violence against women and girls is a real priority for me. I am always looking at ways we can help make our county less sexist. However, misogyny is a deep-rooted issue in our society and it needs to be tackled at the source – men and boys.

“This scheme set up by Chrissie is incredibly valuable and clearly very much needed. I am supportive of the Safe Space scheme, as anything we can do as a society to help women and girls feel safer and more protected from predatory men is beneficial.”

Chrissie Lowery, founder of Safe Space said: “I feel really proud – it started off as a very small thing in Stroud and now it’s growing into the whole of Gloucestershire and into the West with 400 buses taking part.

“All the drivers are trained – they all have a sticker and a poster to explain what happens in this scheme. If you are being followed, are at risk of harm and need help, just get on the bus and ask the driver for a safe space.”

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