In light of the devastating increase in sexual assault in Brighton, a new community has been formed to protect people walking home at night.
Featured image: © Home Safe Brighton
Home Safe Brighton is a project to protect people walking home at night. It operates from a closed Facebook group which connects people in the city to walk home together at night. Every Saturday, the group will patrol the areas around Pavillion Gardens, New Road and Old Steine from 11pm-4am to help people get home safe by offering a buddy system. Two of the groups members will walk home with you, wait for a bus with you, help you find your friends or call you a taxi home.
The community was founded by Lexi Pickett and the Alice Leverton, who are members of the Clap Back Club, a Brighton-based group of women and queer folk campaigning for social change in the community and beyond. Lexi said:
We formed as a feminist theatre group, shining a light on the discriminations we face through comedy and song. After winning the Brighton Fringe Audience Choice Award 2 years in a row and receiving the resounding response that this is a conversation that needs to be opened, we realised we needed to do more. Following the devastating increase of sexual assault in Brighton, particularly over the last month, we formed Home Safe Brighton.
Home Safe Brighton was formed just over a week ago, after a member of the group was sexually assaulted on her doorstep. Lexi expressed her gratitude for the support they have received so far:
The reaction to it has been overwhelming, gaining over 300 members to the Facebook group and getting a huge traction on other social media platforms. We are thrilled to say we have gained a large amount of support from from local businesses, who have expressed how much of a necessity this service is and have offered safe spaces and other resources. The local authorities and security firms are aware of this operation to provide support and guidance where necessary.
If you would like to see how Home Safe Brighton operates, the community are hosting Night Light on the 19th July from 10:30pm-1am. There will be music, testimonials and speeches about the inspiration behind the project and discussions about how we can come together as a community to feel safe in our streets. At midnight, the gardens will be lit up and the group asks people in attendance to bring torches, phone lights, LED candles or anything to draw attention to this beautiful space. The group wants to actively create change and show predators that they can no longer hide under the cover of darkness. Lexi said:
The Rainbow Hub are giving us support as we begin to grow, providing training and a space to use when we begin to accept volunteers for the buddy system. We’ve had talks with Survivors Movement and are hoping to build up relationships with the other fantastic organisations that exist in Brighton as we work to make change in our city.
If you would like to join the community, please join the Home Safe Brighton Facebook group for further support and discussion around safeguarding our city.