A leading occupational health company has been helping to bring pastoral care to the streets of Aberdeen, thanks to a city centre project.
In October 2010, Aberdeen-based RS Occupational Health donated a former mobile health clinic to Aberdeen Street Pastors to help them provide a regular place from which to offer care in the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights.
Thanks to the support and generosity of a variety of companies and organisations, the vehicle was extensively refurbished and reconfigured to provide a triage area and a plush seating area where people can seek help and advice away from the street environment.
The vehicle took to the streets in June this year and, six months on, is experiencing its busiest period to date as the city centre fills with festive revellers.
Explaining how the vehicle – Safe Space – works, Aberdeen Street Pastors’ Operations Director Rev Captain Gerry Bowyers said: “The vehicle we received from RS Occupational Health is parked on Belmont Street between 10pm and 4am every Friday and Saturday night and is staffed by a team of three volunteers. They deal with life’s broad spectrum of situations and offer care which can range from a cup of tea and a listening ear to referral to professional services for help.
“Before, our teams were working on the streets so this vehicle gives us a permanent presence in one space. People know it is there and are reassured by the fact that help is on hand if they need it.”
He added: “It takes our ministry of listening, caring and helping in a non-judgemental way to a deeper level because it is a safe space.”
Fiona Sommerville of RS Occupational Health added: “Our mobile clinic was used extensively for several clients and, when it was no longer required, we were determined to find a good use for it.
“Aberdeen Street Pastors fitted our criteria perfectly because they aim to provide help and a place of safety to anyone who needs it.
“Having lived in Aberdeen for more than 30 years, I have seen the city centre get busier and busier at weekends so I am pleased that RS Occupational Health is able to support such a worthwhile initiative which offers relief from the pressure on public services and has potential benefits for everyone using Aberdeen city centre.”
Contact: RS Occupational Health
Phone: (0870) 050 3456.