VOLUNTEERS who spend their nights trying to make sure people get home safely after a night out are getting ready for their busiest time of year.

Durham StreetLights work around the year to try and make the city safer for people during nights out but will have extra volunteers out and about in the lead up to Christmas.

Howard Bray, the volunteer coordinator for Durham StreetLights, said: “December is one of the busiest times of the year as people head out on works night-outs or for a catch up with friends.

“Many of the people we see in December only go out on the town late at night once or twice a year and our volunteer team will be on hand to help ensure people have a fun and safe night.”

The team wears a distinctive uniform and will be out and about, carrying items like flip-flops, first aid and plasters for blistered feet and more serious injuries, as well as bottles of water to rehydrate people and warm blankets to stop people from suffering the effects of hypothermia.

The team is also on hand to help people relocate friends, recharge mobile phones and give directions to the next pub or club and locate a taxi to get people home safely.

They are also offering bits of advice to people to try and make sure people have a good time, from urging women who intend to wear high heels to carry flats so they do not end up going bare-foot, and encouraging people to know their drinking limits and to eat enough prior to going out.

Durham StreetLights is a joint initiative between churches in the city. Usually about three volunteers head out in Durham every Saturday night between 10pm and 3am, which increases to five or six in the lead up to Christmas.

Volunteers are trained and available to assist people, offering practical and emotional support to people in need.

Mr Bray added: “We’re out 52 weeks a year but the run up to Christmas is always quite busy.

“We are all Christians - the idea is we show Jesus’ love in the street and he will be doing the same.”

For more information on the work of Durham StreetLights visit www.durhamstreetlights.org.uk or call 0191-303-8623.