SOS Bus called a ‘life-saver’ after helping drink spike victim

A town’s SOS bus has been described as a “life-saver” after helping a victim of drink spiking on a night out.

YMCA Norfolk’s SOS Bus service in Lynn offers a “much-needed” alternative to calling emergency service units which are under mounting pressure.

The SOS Bus, commissioned and funded by the Integrated Care Board, operates every Friday and Saturday night from 9pm until late within the night-time economy of Lynn’s town centre.

The YMCA bus is located on Norfolk Street in Lynn
The YMCA bus is located on Norfolk Street in Lynn

One person who was recently helped by the bus said: “I had my drink spiked on a Saturday night in a club in Lynn, and the SOS Bus team assisted me outside the club for over two hours. I can’t thank them enough for the service you provided, – the team saved my life and for that I am truly grateful.”

A dedicated team of community engagement workers offers a variety of support and advice in partnership with local agencies, providing help to those in a crisis or in need of emergency assistance.

In the last year, the service has interacted with 24,562 people through offering food parcels, clothes and first aid as well as somewhere to seek advice around safe sex, drug and alcohol abuse, cost of living and mental health crisis situations.

The SOS team said they have also de-escalated many pre-arrest situations, preventing local police from having to spend extra time and resource on arresting and charging those in a drunk and disorderly state.

They also provide medical support and first aid to those with injured or unwell to avoid adding to NHS A&E pressures and wait-times.

In the last year the service has not only seen a rise in the overall number of users accessing the SOS bus services but have also seen an increase in families and elderly people asking for clothing, warmth and food parcels.

Kate-Kemp Small, YMCA Norfolk SOS Bus Project Lead, said:

“It’s becoming more and more evident how much charitable and community projects are needed to relieve pressures off emergency services and the NHS, and without services such as the SOS Bus, members of the public have admitted to us that they would have had to go days without eating, self-harmed or ended up in highly dangerous situations such as drink-driving.

“While we’re proud to have managed to support so many people in the last year, we’ve also first-hand witnessed how tough times are for many in the current climate.”