Every Stagecoach West bus is now a safe space for women and girls in Gloucestershire

In a movement to protect those who feel threatened or intimidated while out and about, Stagecoach West joins shops and other facilities throughout Gloucestershire to offer a safe space for people to go when needed.

By Kaleigh Pritchard  |  Published
Stagecoach West is partnering with the Safe Space scheme to offer a place to go to all who feel threatened or intimidated while out and about in Gloucestershire.

A scheme to offer protection to those who feel unsafe when out and about founded and developed by Stroud resident, Chrissie Lowery, is being rolled out across all Stagecoach West bus services in Gloucestershire.

Launched in October 2022 as a response to a series of sexual assaults and rapes of women in Stroud, the Safe Space scheme allows people to use public spaces as a place to stay if they're being followed or when they need support.

The scheme has already proven to be effective, with reports of multiple women having found safety in designated shops in Stroud — including a domestic abuse survivor who came to a Safe Space after an incident, where a member of staff kept them safe until further help arrived.

85 businesses have joined the scheme so far — and now Stagecoach West's fleet of over 400 buses in Gloucestershire are also on board. 

Stagecoach drivers have been specially trained, with stickers being placed on the buses to signify them as Safe Space, so all people have to do is ask the driver for a safe space and they'll receive the help they need. 

Managing director for Stagecoach West, Rachel Geliamassi said: 'Our drivers have always been prepared to assist any passenger in distress; consistently demonstrating their compassion and understanding. Our partnership in the Safe Space initiative, proudly offers an official sanction to this practice.

'It brings us immense satisfaction to collaborate with such an important charity. Together, we’re strengthening our pledge to safety, assuring our community that we are here for them, always.'

At the launch event for Stagecoach this July 2023 with Gloucestershire Constabulary and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, police officers took part in role-play scenarios to showcase how bus drivers will respond when met with a situation where a Safe Space is required.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, Chris Nelson said: 'Tackling men's violence against women and girls is a real priority for me. I am always looking at ways we can help make our county less sexist. However, misogyny is a deep rooted issue in our society and it needs to be tackled at the source — men and boys.

'This scheme set up by Chrissie is incredibly valuable. Anything we can do as a society to help women and girls feel safer and more protected from predatory men is beneficial.'

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