The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

‘Student Angels’ safety scheme launched

Communities Officer Jack Houghton had previously not given an official launch date

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The Mancunion can reveal that the Student Angels (formerly Night Owls) scheme began at the beginning of March 2018.

The original Night Owls scheme was created in response to a spate of crime in the Fallowfield area, which also led to a petition being launched urging Greater Manchester Police and the mayor Andy Burnham to make the streets of Fallowfield safer.

The advert for students to sign up states that volunteers will have the “chance to be a part of an exciting new project which aims to provide students with friendly and independent support and guidance in Fallowfield when it is at its busiest.”

Duties listed include “patrolling key areas of Fallowfield”, assisting students by “walking them home” and picking up litter to keep the area “greener”.

The Mancunion found that the scheme was not well received by students, with some anxious that it was similar to asking students to become vigilantes in their own area.

Photo: UMSU

Photo: UMSU

The scheme has since re-branded, and is now called Student Angels. As of yet, it is unclear whether the new name’s similarity to  Manchester Street Angels — a group that does similar work in the Gay Village — is a coincidence or not.

On the volunteer hub on the Students’ Union website, it states that volunteers have been able to sign up since the 1st March 2018, and that initial training will begin on 22nd April.

The training that will be provided to successful applicants includes “basic first aid”, “safeguarding vulnerable adults” and “spotting signs” of many different potential dangers, such as substance abuse and human trafficking.

The scheme will be officially launched tomorrow, the 21st of March, but there has been no official announcement that this would be taking place.

Communities Officer Jack Houghton has been approached for comment.