SOS Bus NI
Making Belfast Safer
SOS Bus NI is an integral part of the multi-agency effort to deliver services that reduce pressures on blue light services and make Belfast a safer place to live, work and socialise.
SOS Bus works around the clock providing a range of services using a fleet of repurposed buses and mini-buses and a team of over 200 volunteers. In any year 2,500 local people and visitors to the city are provided with welfare support at their time of need.
Street Based Interventions
The Daytime Response Team offer street based talking therapy and crisis intervention and are primarily engaged in supporting people, who on account of their complex lives, including homelessness, can struggle to access mental health services and support via traditional routes.
Typically two-thirds of these individuals are provided with on street mental health interventions to deescalate the immediate crisis, and if appropriate, referred to longer term support. A small but significant proportion need urgent first aid attention including the administration of naloxone and conveying to A&E.
Night-time Services focus on the provision of a non-judgemental, safe space on board the bus and the delivery of crisis interventions, welfare support – including shelter, refreshments & warm clothing, and community safety functions.
This can be to individuals who are injured or unwell, experiencing suicidal thoughts, victims or those in fear of violence or crime as well as those feeling lonely and isolated.
A Place of Refuge
The SOS Bus is also tasked, as part of the multi-agency health and safety team, with providing welfare services at concerts and other major events in the city. These include providing shelter and a place of safety, assistance for those recovering from substance use and support for those needing safe transport home.
“If we show kindness, it makes others want to show kindness. It has a ripple effect.”
George, SOS Bus Volunteer
Care & Compassion
The all-embracing care & compassion demonstrated by SOS Bus volunteers has earned the service a unique role both in supporting Belfast’s spectacular rise as a tourist destination and in providing for the wellbeing of its local residents.
Working in close collaboration with the Police and Ambulance service, SOS Bus is able to clearly evidence its ability to mitigate aspects of crime and lower unnecessary hospital admissions.
Their volunteer contribution has also been recognised with the bestowing of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.