Students set up service to make sure people don’t have to walk home alone after nights out
The students set the group up after attending a vigil for Sarah Everard
A group of students have set up a scheme to stop people having to walk home alone at night.
Founded in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death, Strut Safe, run by five Edinburgh uni students, offers to accompany people on the walk home after nights out in Edinburgh.
Since starting three months ago, they’ve now managed to recruit 40 volunteers who do around two shifts a month.
Fourth year Levi Mitchell, one of the group’s directors, says: “The feedback we get from people is all really positive – it feels very supportive and definitely exciting.”
Two students – Alice Jackson and Rachel Chung – formed Strut Safe after attending a vigil for Sarah Everard in Edinburgh.
Met Police officer Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to Everard’s murder on Friday. In light of this news, Levi – who joined the group later on – emphasises that a key part of Strut Safe’s ethos is that they’re separate to the police.
“That’s kind of the point. We’re people from the Edinburgh community who’ve volunteered and worked in things like pubs, and are good at talking to folk,” he said. “It’s people helping other people without these institutional problems that keep happening.
“We wanted to make sure queer people and people of colour – people who generally don’t feel as supported by institutions like the police – know we’re not going to give them any hassle.”
During a normal night for StrutsSafe, Levi and other directors man the phones. When somebody calls up, they send two volunteers to accompany them on the walk home. Levi says sending two volunteers is a safety measure to make sure people using the service feel more comfortable.
Currently, volunteers are vetted through interviews and wear Strutsafe lanyards. As they expand, they’re looking to become a charity, get grants and fund background checks for volunteers. “I am quite keen that there aren’t any financial barriers to people being able to volunteer with us,” Levi says.
Beyond Edinburgh, the group also gets calls from people in other cities – and offers to stay on the phone while they walk home.
“Just speaking to them and making sure they got home, hearing that they had been nervous, had been walking through a new area of town, and that they then felt more comfortable,” said Levi. “That’s just wonderful to hear.”