A Brighton-based a feminist theatre group is launching Home Safe Brighton, a project to protect people walking home at night.
It comes after an increase in the numbers of sexual assaults in Brighton.
Alice Leverton and Lexi Pickett are masterminding the initiative.
Lexi said: “We are Clap Back Club, a Brighton-based group of women and queer folk campaigning for social change in our community and beyond. 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 two 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 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 and update people on our activity.
“Every Saturday we will patrol the areas around Pavilion Gardens, New Road and Old Steine from 11pm-4am to help people get home safe by offering a buddy system with two of our members to walk home, waiting with them for a bus, helping them find their friends, chatting to them if they’re in need or calling them a cab.
“We launched this last Thursday, less than a week after one of our members was sexually assaulted on her doorstep. The reaction to it has been overwhelming, gaining over 300 members to the facebook group and getting huge traction on other social media platforms.
“We are thrilled to say we have gained a large amount of support 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.”
Lexi added: “On July 19 we are hosting Night Light - a vigil at Pavilion Gardens from 10:30pm-1am. There will be music, testimonials and speeches about the inspiration behind this project and discuss how we can come together as a community to feel safe in our streets. At midnight we will light up the gardens, asking people in attendance to bring torches, phone lights, LED candles; anything to draw attention to this beautiful space that has been taken from us, showing that predators can no longer hide under the cover of darkness in Pavilion Gardens and that something needs to change.
“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.”