Headlines: February 18th, 2009

Safe Haven Buses, vehicles that have been specially converted to provide secure spaces in town and city centres, will gather in Blackburn today. They will be in town along with more than 100 officials from councils around the country for a Safe Haven Bus conference.

The event, being hosted by Blackburn with Darwen Council, has been organised to promote the Safe Haven scheme. Safe Haven buses from as far away as Norwich are expected to be on show.

Blackburn’s own bus provides a place of safety for people in the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights but the conference will also see a new mobile community centre bus taking to the road for the first time. The thirty-five thousand pound vehicle will be available for residents, youth groups, community groups and volunteer organisations to use free of charge. It will be used to showcase positive activities for young people, provide training and learning for families as well as promoting health and well being with activities such as a Nintendo Wii fit.

The new bus has been paid for by the Council to provide facilities particularly in parts of its area which currently have limited resources. It will be managed by a council steering group with partners including the Health Service, Lancashire police and Twin Valley homes, which is helping to meet the vehicles’s running costs.

Councillor John Slater, Blackburn’s executive member for neighbourhood and customer services, said, “It will benefit the community immensely and be of particular use to those living in the borough’s outlying areas. This project has a great deal of potential and I would encourage as many people as possible to make full use of it.”