DEDICATED volunteers will be giving up their New Years Eve again this year to operate the Chippenham Helpzone.
A committed team made up of Chippenham street pastors, St John’s Ambulance volunteers and members of the South West Ambulance Service will be on hand to help deal with emergency medical issues from 10pm to 3am.
Following last year’s successful pilot, members of the team will be patrolling the town centre and will once again be based at the Central Methodist Church on Monkton Hill.
Councillor Peter Hutton, portfolio member for public protection, said: “The whole principle of the Helpzone is to provide emergency medical care from 10pm to 3am in the town centre to support people using the night-time economy on New Year’s Eve.
“The benefits are to provide a quick response to any incident that occurs in the town centre but also to take pressure off the minor injuries unit and acute hospitals so they can concentrate on anything significant.
“People can see Chippenham is serious about their night-time economy and their safety, it shows the commitment to being safe and providing a safe environment.”
The hard-working team will also be prepared with a mobile defibrillator and Wiltshire Police’s mobile CCTV unit, both of which have been funded by the Wiltshire Council Area Board.
St John Ambulance’s regional events manager, Des Young, said: “It’s all about working together for a safer Chippenham. New Year’s Eve is a night where everyone wants to have a good time but high spirits can sometimes lead to accidents or illness and that’s where we come in.
By being based in the town centre, and a stone’s throw from Chippenham police, the team will be ready to take care of people who are injured or worse for wear so that, should anyone’s night out comes to an abrupt halt for any reason, they’ll be in safe hands.
Michael Weeks, co-ordinator of Chippenham Street Pastors, said: “The idea of the Help Zone is to ensure that anyone in need on New Years has their wellbeing put first, which can only be a benefit to the town.
“It is great that once again, due to various groups working in partnership, there will be a Helpzone in Chippenham this New Years Eve. I would also like to thank Central Methodist Church for allowing us to use their premises again this year."