Today The Chronicle joined Reading Borough Council for the official opening of Reading Street Pastors Safe Space. The organisation had previously run from a double-decker bus, then a church, and this marks the first time they have had an official space.

The centre will run from St Mary’s Church House and will be open on Friday and Saturday nights as a walk-in service for anyone needing help. The service’s initiative is to take pressure off the NHS A&E on their busiest nights and is run by 90 Christian volunteers across Reading.

The centre’s staff will include trained paramedics who are there to help intoxicated people, victims of crime and help young people who could otherwise land themselves in danger.

Mayor of Reading Councillor Page addressed attendees: “The centre will act as a first stop for first aid, medical help, and refuge for those enjoying a Friday and Saturday night. It will also be a safe space for victims of crime and will help crime prevention.”

Street Pastor Sally Leonard spoke to the crowd stating “It has been a long journey to where we are today. We are run completely by volunteers from Reading who care a lot about our community and are here to keep people in the nighttime economy safe.”

The funding for the project is provided by Safer Streets, which comes directly from the home office. £460,000 has been put into these organisations nationwide, with Safe Space Reading receiving £90,000.