Meet the organisers behind Walk Together Cardiff: A new initiative making the streets safer for students of Cardiff

It comes after the apparent increase reports of spiking and injection incidents aimed to harass women

After the recent rise in reports of spiking incidents, a group of Cardiff University sports clubs have come together and have created an initiative where the safety of women and students is their priority.

Consisting of Hockey, Football, Lacrosse, Medics Rugby, Earth Rugby, Surf Sports, Swimming and Water Polo, the Walk Together initiative aims to safely walk students home, with routes running from The Hilton Hotel to the SU to Misfits to The Woodville and ending at Talybont residences.

To find out more about this amazing initiative, The Tab Cardiff interviewed one of people involved (Zach Beresford) and see what Walk Together was about!

What is the initiative that Walk Together has created? 

Walk Together: Cardiff (WTC) has been started to help people feel just that bit safer on a night out than they otherwise would. Those who might be reluctant to go out due to anxiety about walking back late can now hopefully spend their nights having fun, and not worrying about how to get home okay.”

Who is involved? 

“As it stands, there are just a few societies involved but we will likely be looking to expand the initiative as demand grows. Currently, the founding members are Hockey, Football, Lacrosse, Med Rugby, Earth Rugby, Surf Sports, Swimming and Water Polo. The response to the launching of WTC has been very positive with many societies already getting in touch asking to get involved, so it’s been fantastic to see that the potential impact could be massive!”

Why have these clubs decided to create this initiative? 

“After seeing the dramatic increase in nasty experiences students have been having on nights out – such as spiking and assaults – we decided to try and make a change. A similar scheme was set up by the football club last year and it was well-received by the student body so we decided to launch a revamped version to make sure everyone feels like they can get home safe when they need to.

“There were a few changes we decided to make to the initiative from last year, but one of the main ones was creating something that isn’t restricted to just Cardiff. That’s why we’ve used logos and colours that other universities can use too.

“The hope is that Walk Together will have many other universities names where Cardiff sits now.”

What do you hope will happen after this initiative has taken place? 

Well, we hope there is no “after” at all as we don’t want it to stop, only to grow! As we say, we want this to act as a catalyst for as many universities as possible to join Walk Together so no student ever feels unsafe in their city again. People come to university to have fun, make friends, and find a new place to call ‘home’. Everyone should feel they can explore their cities feeling safe and WT can hopefully be the inception of a thriving, student-led, nation-wide initiative making this possible.

“As well as helping protect people outside of venues, we want WTC to catalyse change inside venues too. Hopefully, this gets venues putting more effort into prioritising the safety and protection of their guests. While we personally know countless people who have sadly been made to feel unsafe on nights out, we also know there are many fantastic people working in venues everywhere that truly, truly care about those on nights out so we’ve got high hopes!”

Who can our readers contact? Meet the Cardiff team

To help people feel more at ease with the initiative, Walk Together Cardiff have provided The Tab Cardiff with a spokesperson for each club involved should people wish to get in touch and find out more:

Zach Beresford, Men’s Hockey President

Zach, who studies international relations and politics told The Cardiff Tab that initiatives like these are so important because of the awareness it raises and also makes a difference to people’s safety: “We’re not going to be able to wave a magic wand and fix everything, but what we can do is play our part in this fight against the epidemic of violence against women.”

Max Bourne, 1st team Football Vice-Captain

Max, who studies German and Economics told us that the reason he chose to help start this initiative was because he felt like something needed to be done to help students feel safer going home after a night out: “Accounts of harassment/assault/spiking in clubs has risen so much since the return of uni. It’s all I read on overheard at the moment and it’s so sad to see. I want students to be able to enjoy their nights again and help them in a small way for them to feel safe on their walk home.”

Henry aka Skrobot, Surf Sports President

Skrobot, who does International Management, told us how some of his friends have felt unsafe getting home after nights out: “My friend also got spiked and seeing the anxiety this can cause about going out and the worry people have about getting home, I just want to do what I can to help students feel safer in their city so they can enjoy their night and not worry about feeling unsafe getting home afterwards.”

Jake Bhakta, Earth Rugby President

Jake is another Walk Together volunteer and studies Exploration Geology.

Isaac Hathaway, Medics Rugby Social Sec

Isaac, a medic, told us: “Making Cardiff a safer place for everyone is essential, and we want to be a part of that transformation. We hope we can make a difference.”

Caolan Pledge, 1st team Lacrosse Captain

Caolan, a pharmacy student, said that this initiative was important to him because students coming to uni and not feeling safe isn’t the way it should be: “Really it should be a totally positive experience of something new and so if me and the club can help ensure that then that’s fantastic.”

Ben Simpson, Swimming and Water Polo

Ben is a Financial Mathematics student who you can contact from the swimming and water polo society.

“Just a final word from the Walk Together team: if you want to get involved then please don’t hesitate to get in touch! And for everyone reading, we’re here for you when you need us, and are only ever a message away.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Meet the Cardiff University football team who helped students walk home safely

• #endviolenceagainstwomen and #endpolicebrutality: Protest at Cardiff Bay Police Station

• The police are launching extra patrols to keep Cardiff students safe this Freshers’ Week