A safe space in Darlington for those feeling vulnerable or in need of assistance while on a night out, opened its doors to the public this afternoon to see what it’s all about.

The Northern Echo headed down to Number Forty on Skinnergate today (Thursday, November 8) to have a chat with organisers about how the initiative has been going since the doors of Number Forty first opened on September 1.

Number Forty is open from 9pm-3am on Friday and Saturday nights to help to anyone who feels vulnerable, unwell or has been a victim of crime.

Since it opened over three months ago, Number Forty has; helped lost party goers reunite with their friends, provided first aid, helped people get to hospital, called taxis and family members, supported victims of crime and handed out free water, flip flops and ponchos.

The Northern Echo: Number Forty is located on Skinnergate in DarlingtonNumber Forty is located on Skinnergate in Darlington (Image: Stuart Boulton)

Read more: Darlington support workers named Covid heroes at Great British Care Awards

The initiative is supported by the Darlington Safer Streets partnership, which includes Darlington Borough Council and Durham Constabulary.

It is just one a number of recent initiatives implemented to increase safety and the feeling of safety, particularly among women and girls in the town centre.

Lucy Hatch, Safter Streets Coordinator, said: “So far we’ve helped 166 people on nights out. Sometimes this is people who are in distress or sometimes it’s just people who need to charge their phone.

“We thought going into this that it would be mainly women and girls using the service but we’ve had 50/50 split between males and females walking through the doors. We are funded by Violence Against Women but of course we welcome males as well.

“We have 26 volunteers and they’re all from different age groups and backgrounds but we’re always happy to hear from people interested in volunteering.”

The Northern Echo: Inside Number FortyInside Number Forty (Image: Stuart Boulton)

Read more: 7 in 10 offices in Darlington 'not equipped for cold weather' as energy bills rise

Mike Renton, Darlington Council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, said: “The volunteers at Number Forty are doing an amazing job providing a brilliant service for anyone who needs help on a night out.

“We also think it’s great if people use this space as a rendezvous point on nights out, especially for people from outside of town.”

“It’s been helping all kinds of people who have come in for all sorts of reasons so clearly that need is there.”

Joy Allen, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I am delighted at the success of Number Forty. This event is an excellent opportunity for the public and partners to meet the valued volunteers that have made this whole operation possible, along with finding out about the excellent work that is going on every weekend to keep our residents safe in our night-time economy.

“Safer people is one of the main priorities for the public in our police and crime plan. We want to reassure the public and provide protection to the vulnerable members of our community. This is just one step on a long road to supporting women and girls to overcome violence on our streets.”

The Northern Echo: Inside Number FortyInside Number Forty (Image: Stuart Boulton)

Read more: Darlington curry house gets prestigious accolade at the British Curry Awards

Inspector Dean Haythornthwaite, from Darlington Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “Number Forty is just one of the many ways in which we are helping to make Darlington as safe as possible for everyone, particularly women and girls.

 “This event is a great opportunity to come down to find out more about the project, and also learn about the other initiatives we have implemented to help keep people safe.”

If you would like to volunteer or help Number Forty please email chris.knox@darlington.gov.uk or Lucy.Hatch2@durham-pcc.gov.uk

The Northern Echo: Number Forty provides a safe space for anyone who feels vulnerable, or just needs assistance, on a night out in DarlingtonNumber Forty provides a safe space for anyone who feels vulnerable, or just needs assistance, on a night out in Darlington (Image: Stuart Boulton)

Read next:

If you want to read more great stories, why not subscribe to The Northern Echo for as little as £1.25 a week. Click here.