The Village Angels, the flagship project in LGBT Foundation’s community safety programme is well known not just in Manchester’s LGBT community, but across the United Kingdom. First established in 2011, our volunteers can be found every Friday and Saturday night in the Gay Village in Manchester from 9pm to 3am, wearing the hot pink uniforms for which they are renowned.
In 2016, we realised that we needed a safe haven to support those who were at a level of vulnerability that they could not be supported on the streets. We partnered with a local security firm which was able to loan us a caravan that we used to pilot of Village Haven for a summer. In 2017, following the success of this pilot, we began a partnership with a local homelessness charity to use their drop in centre as a safe haven every Friday and Saturday night. This base - the Village Haven - is used by people who are lost, in distress or don't know how to get home, providing a safe space for all Village users.
Over the years the Village Angels have pulled people from drowning in the canal, prevented suicide attempts, responded to overdoses and got thousands of people home safely and prevented hundreds of nights-out from being ruined. Over the past year we have interacted with over 5,000 people, had over 450 service users for a total of 3,300 volunteer hours. This has saved the emergency services in excess of half a million pounds.
The work of the Village Angels and Haven volunteers is incredibly diverse and never the same two nights in a row. At times, the Village Angels will act as a mobile tourist information bureau, offering directions and information to people who have come out to enjoy the LGBT space. The Angels will also respond to serious incidents. These range from helping people to report crimes to responding to mental health crises and helping people who are alone and vulnerable to get home safely. The Village Angels will often be the first people on the scene when serious medical incidents occur in the Village, and will provide basic first aid and manage the incident until paramedics arrive.
Here you can see a video showing a typical night for our Angels and Haven volunteers
Our programme would not have lasted so long and helped so many people without the involvement of our amazing community. If you would like to join our team, here's how you can get involved.
Our volunteers come from a very diverse range of backgrounds and experiences and there is no set type of person we'd want on board. If you care about your community and want to give some time back to us, then volunteering with Angels and Haven may well be for you.
Interested in being a part of it? Download an application form, send it across and we'll get you started!