Westminster City Council and LGBT Foundation are partnering to ensure that everyone gets home safe from Soho (in London's West End) this festive season.
The campaign, which is supported by Smirnoff, has enlisted a team of specially trained volunteers who will be out on the streets of Soho handing out water or guiding people towards medical attention.
The 'Soho Angels' will be trained to spot those most vulnerable on this nighttime safety initiative. It is particularly focused on the LGBTQ+ community, who are often targeted for their sexual orientation.
'Soho Angels' are part of Smirnoff's 'We're Open' campaign, which aims to make nightlife safer for those in the LGBTQ+ community.
Earlier this year, Smirnoff inked a year-long partnership with Lad Bible to home in on diversity initiatives skewed towards younger audiences. The vodka brand aims to inspire positive changes in UK nightlife and drinking culture by creating a more inclusive environment for everyone regardless of their gender, sexuality or otherwise.
This is the first time the initiative, which began in Manchester, is heading down to London.
The scheme stems from Westminster Council's licensing charter work and LGBT Foundation's Village Angels programme, which is a key fixture of Manchester's nightlife. Since it was founded in 2011, LGBT Foundation's Village Angels have helped nearly 100,000 people in Manchester.
St John Ambulance, Drinkaware, Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance Service and Safer West End, are all partnering with the initiative to help deliver the project.
Paul Martin OBE, chief executive of LGBT Foundation, explains: “Since 2011, thousands of Village visitors have been helped by the Angels, [who] regularly carry out life-saving interventions. Unfortunately, we know that people can be targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and that LGBT communities still face discrimination and barriers to accessing support.
"We recognised the need for similar programmes in other LGBT spaces across the country, and that’s why we’re proud to be working with Westminster City Council and Smirnoff to bring the Soho Angels to the streets of London.”
Smirnoff marketing manager, Sarah Shimmons, added: “This chapter of the Smirnoff We’re Open campaign aims to make nightlife a safer space for LGBTQ+ people. We’re committed to supporting Westminster City Council and LGBT Foundation in creating a much-needed service for London, offering help and support to Soho and its LGBTQ+ community to ensure it remains one of the UK’s most inclusive and safe nights out.”