Where are the SOS Buses located?
During a shift the SOS Bus is located in Southend High Street which is positioned in the town centre high street by McDonald's and Marks & Spencer. The Basildon SOS Bus is based at Festival Leisure Park near Liquid and Envy Nightclubs.
When are the buses in operation?
Both buses are in operation on a Friday and Saturday night between the hours of 9.00pm and 3am.
When and where do I need to be on the bus?
Car parking for the Southend SOS Bus will be directly behind the SOS Bus. The Festival Leisure Park has lots of parking bays please park close to the Bus. On both SOS Buses you will be asked to arrive at 8.30pm in order to have a team meeting before the shift starts at 9.00pm.
Do I need to bring anything?
No you don't. It would be advisable to wear clothes that you do not mind getting dirty - for obvious reasons. Disposable sick bowls, aprons and gloves are provided.
Basic food and drink is available on the bus such as biscuits, soup, tea and coffee. There is a toaster and sandwich maker available too. If possible team members are asked to eat before a shift if a more substantial meal is required.
Is uniform provided?
T-shirts and fleeces are provided for each team member. This uniform is the responsibility of each individual and must be returned on leaving the project.
Will I be given information before the start of the shift?
There will be a briefing at the start of the shift and a chance to make introductions. Whoever is shift leader for that shift will be informed that they have a new staff member and will show you around the bus and answer any questions.
What can I expect during a shift?
No two shifts are the same, so expect every shift to be different. Also the number of clients who access the bus varies with each shift. There is town-link radio system which links venues with the police, CCTV and the SOS Bus. These services radio to the bus is a team is required to attend to a client. First Aid teams also patrol the streets during the shift and they are linked to the SOS Bus by our own radio system. A support vehicle is available to collect people and take them to the bus if necessary and also to ferry clients requiring hospital treatment to Accident and Emergency averting the need for an ambulance to attend.
Vulnerable people often approach the bus to ask questions or ask for advice if they are in need in any way. We also have a quiet area upstairs where they can talk to someone if they need too. Leaflets and web site address are given for any services they may need to access. Also members of the public come to the bus to enquire about volunteering and there is information available for them too.
Do we help people get home?
Yes, but the bus and the support vehicle are not intended to be used for a free lift home! The support vehicle can take people home in emergencies, otherwise friends and relatives are contacted or the client is taken to a place of safety.
What support do we have during the shift?
An SOS Bus shift comprises a shift leader, support car driver and on average there are 7 team members on a shift on both the Southend and Basildon buses. A radio/phone link is available if police help should be required. The police are always on hand in the town centre throughout the night dealing with Public Order issues. In Southend, the Street Pastors are on hand at the weekend, they are also linked to the Bus by radio.
What about training?
Training sessions are available regularly on subjects such as listening to clients, drug awareness, manual handling, defibrillator operation and self-defence. We encourage every volunteer to become a qualified First Aider and 3 day first aid courses are offered by the SOS Bus Project. This training is an accredited award which you can take into your school, college or work place.
SOS Bus Team Personnel:
John Bastin – Community Health & Well Being Manager
Andrew Lane - Project Co-Ordinator
Adam Sparrow - Team Leader
Sarah Ford - Team Leader
Tom Carlile - First Aid Trainer
Southend SOS Bus Contact No: 07790 869003
Basildon SOS Bus Contact No: 07530 265892