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SOS heading to Ocean Room

PUBLISHED: 09:33 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:27 03 July 2010

For the last eight years it has helped thousands of revellers have safe nights out in Norwich at the weekend.

And tonight the SOS bus is wheeling its way towards the coast to make sure that youngsters get home safe from a student disco.

For the last eight years it has helped thousands of revellers have safe nights out in Norwich at the weekend.

And tonight the SOS bus is wheeling its way towards the coast to make sure that youngsters get home safe from a student disco.

The SOS bus, which offers support and first aid to people in distressed or vulnerable states, will become a regular feature outside the Ocean Room in Gorleston during its series of weekday non-alcohol student nights.

The police have asked for the bus to make the short hop from Norwich tonight as they were concerned that a small minority of teenagers were getting drunk before previous discos at the seafront nightspot.

And it is hoped that if there is high demand for the SOS service and enough volunteers come forward, then a new bus could be purchased to provide help for regular night time events at the Ocean Room and in the town centre.

The SOS bus was launched by the Open Youth Trust in Norwich in April 2001 after two teenagers were found dead in the River Wensum after nights out.

Insp Richard Graveling, of Gorleston police, said: “We were concerned that a small minority of people were getting access to alcohol before going to the Ocean Room, especially given that its location is close to the sea.

“I am very pleased we are working with the SOS bus as it is an excellent scheme which improves the safety of the local community.”

As well as securing the bus, Insp Graveling said he was working closely with publicans and licencees in the town to make sure that none of the underage students buy alcohol before they go into the Ocean Room tonight.

The Open Youth Trust will need four volunteers to run the SOS bus in Gorleston, including a first aider, and it is hoped that local pub landlords will pay for the fuel costs of the vehicle coming up from Norwich.

Since 2001 the SOS bus has helped 6,000 people, and six other counties have gone on to copy the project, which costs £100,000 to run and is based at Prices of Wales Road every weekend.

Russ Dacre, project manager for the trust, said: “I would like to see the SOS bus as not only for Norwich but for the whole of Norfolk if possible, if the need is there.”

Anyone who wants to volunteer to run the SOS bus in Gorleston should call 01603 763111 or visit www.sosbus.co.uk

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