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Working tirelessly to make the town a safer space for women

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Ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday, Stroud Times met Chrissie Lowery, a person who has worked tirelessly to improve safety and security for women in and around Stroud.

Chrissie’s Safe Space initiative was launched in August 2022 following a series of rapes and attacks in Stroud and formed a network of shops and businesses, each of them bearing a Safe Space sticker on their window, that could provide a safe space for women who felt they were being followed or felt under threat.

Chrissie Lowery 1 | Working tirelessly to make the town a safer space for women
Chrissie at The Retreat in Stroud, part of the Safe Space network.

Early this year Chrissie formed Night Angels, a group of volunteers who patrol the streets of Stroud to provide safety and reassurance, instantly recognisable in their high-vis pink jackets. “When the nightclub opened [in Stroud] we had a meeting with Inspector Paul Cruise from the neighbourhood policing team about setting up something similar to the Cheltenham Guardians Safeguarding Team,” explained Chrissie.

“We came up with the Night Angels name and we had people out on patrol five or six days after that. We’ve got 50 people on our team, and we have a team of six going out every Friday and Saturday night from 11 o’clock at night to 3am or 4am.

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“We’ve looked after several women who have needed lifts home, and it’s a very positive thing to be able to get them home safely. We’ve also had to deal with a couple of aggressive incidents – one involved domestic abuse, so we called the police and they dealt with it. Another involved a serious assault, and again this was dealt with by the police.”

The teams have also provided first aid: “We try to reduce the strain on the emergency services – we had a suspected fractured ankle and managed to get them to A&E with a friend, and we’ve also dealt with drug induced incidents where people have needed to go to hospital.”

Each of the team is issued with a rucksack which includes vital supplies, and even includes a defibrillator, which team members have been trained to use. Chrissie is still keen to recruit more volunteers, and people can sign up on her web page: Safe Space Scheme

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Future plans include having a phone app built that enables people to see where the team of Night Angels are, and also to expand into Gloucester: “I have a meeting scheduled with Inspector Cruise on Friday and we’re meeting the Cheltenham Guardians to see if there’s anything we can learn or improve.

“We’ve also set up a phone helpline which goes live at 9.30pm on a Friday and Saturday night, and calls go straight through to the team in the town so they can get that person home or make them safe. With more funding we could make that service even better.”

Chrissie says she is looking for regular sponsors who can help with the running costs of the patrols, and also individual donations can be made at the GoFundMe page.

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