A scheme to create safe spaces in venues across the Liverpool City Region, developed in response to a spate of hate crimes against the LGBT+ community in the city, has started rolling out across the city.
Fifty-three venues are now accredited with the “You’re Safe Here” mark, following training sessions delivered by LCR Pride Foundation in partnership with Merseyside Police And Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, Stop Hate UK, Merseyside Police, Liverpool Nightlife CIC and other city partners.
The mark aims to reassure the public that they are in a safe place and that staff will know what to do if they are a victim of a crime, need help, or are faced with intimidation or other unacceptable behaviour.
The training sessions, delivered at a range of venues around Liverpool, provided information for venues on how to deal with an extensive range of scenarios, including recognising hate crimes and incidents relating to gender and sexuality, race, disability and more, supporting victims and how to report hate crimes, as well as awareness of sexual violence, unsafe drinking, grooming and student safety.
The first recipients of the “You’re Safe Here” mark include venues from across the city including Ropewalks the Pride Quarter and further afield. From next week, they will display the accreditation mark in windows, on tables and on posters inside the venues, which contain a QR code linking to further support.
Speaking of the first wave of training sessions, LCR Pride Foundation CEO and Co-Founder, Andi Herring, said, “The initial response to the training scheme has been fantastic and clearly reflects the commitment of venues across the city region to providing safe spaces for all.
“While this scheme was launched following a series of hate crimes against the LGBT+ community in the city, it is intended to improve safety for anyone living in or visiting the city. Feedback from participants has so far been excellent and has created a foundation for ongoing partnership working.
“The scheme does not end with the delivery of one training session. We aim to maintain these relationships to continually inform our training and respond to the changing needs and concerns of venues, their staff and patrons, to make our city a safer place for everyone.”
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, said, “The overwhelming response to the You’re Safe Here scheme shows just how strong the shared determination is across our city to make it as safe as possible.
“Liverpool is known for being one of the friendliest, most welcoming cities in the country and this initiative is yet another example of how local people will go out of their way to help others.
“The training has only just got underway, but the enthusiasm and engagement has already been fantastic. Our aim is to provide training for up to 1,000 staff between now and Christmas. By doing so, we can ensure anyone who feels worried, vulnerable or scared on a night out knows there are safe spaces and trained staff on hand to offer effective support right across our city.”
Merseyside Police Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy, said, “There is no place for hate in our city and this year we have made real progression as highlighted in a recent survey led by Confused.com (Feb 2021 ), where Liverpool was voted the safest city in the UK. However, we recognise there is still more work to be done to ensure every member of our community feels safe and secure.
“We talk a lot about partnership working and this initiative led by LCR Pride Foundation is a great example of how our force is working with communities to make Merseyside a safer place for all those that live, work or visit the city centre
“It has been so encouraging to see the large range of venues that have voluntarily signed up to the scheme so far, it really demonstrates the shared enthusiasm for making sure visitors safely enjoy the vibrant nightlife that the city centre has to offer.
“These training sessions give us the chance to provide licensees with information such as what constitutes a hate crime; the importance of reporting it, and the best way to report it. This will ensure that the victim will get the support they need but also helps to reinforce the importance of everyone’s role in helping to reduce hate crime going forwards.”
Rebecca Haycox, General Manager at Liverpool Gin Distillery on Castle Street – one of the newly-trained venues – said, “The safety of the people who visit our venues is so important to our staff, especially in light of recent events.
“The ‘You’re Safe Here’ training has been so incredibly useful and has empowered our team to know what to do when someone needs help, which will be vital as we come into the busy festive season. Liverpool is a friendly, welcoming city and we are proud that through this training our team is able to make it a safer place too.”
The training sessions have been designed with the support of partner agencies across the region, to ensure that attendees are given a wider knowledge of issues that may affect people in their venues. Through the sessions and follow-up work, venues will be put in touch to access further support and training from these partners.
The initial phase of the scheme has been funded by the Police Commissioner, creating 1,000 training places before Christmas, for Evening and Night-time Economy (ENTE) staff in the city.
The opportunity has also been extended to cultural venues, thanks to a partnership between LCR Pride Foundation, Homotopia and Culture Liverpool, as well as to retail and commercial businesses in Liverpool, thanks to funding provided by Liverpool BID Company. These partnerships will engage an even wider range of sectors, where businesses are also looking to support their staff and customers.
LCR Pride Foundation is also working to further extend the scheme across the whole of the Liverpool City Region and to cities across the UK.
Training sessions are still available and will be taking place over the next 12 months. For further information or to book training visit www.lcrpride.co.uk/youresafehere/