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On the 21st October, The Sugarhouse announced they would be closing their doors today in support of the ‘Night In’ Campaign. They were the first nightclub to respond to the boycott with student safety and welfare at the forefront of their agenda. SCAN interviewed the VP Welfare to find out more of the new policies and action plans that have been developed over the past weeks to combat spiking.
Acting under the SugarAgainstSpiking Campaign, Lancaster SU have been working hard to create a number of policies to protect students against the risks of spiking as well as allowing their voices to be heard.
VP Welfare, Amy Merchant explained the decision to support the boycott was based on the importance of students feeling supported by their union, they acknowledge the importance of listening to students and allowing their demands to be heard.
Lancaster SU confirmed that instead of simply boycotting, they would also be running welfare training for all their staff today. Working through the nationwide recognised Drinkaware training program, over 50 members of The Sugarhouse covered some of the official ‘Good Night Out’ training. This allowed them to understand what is meant by harassment in a bid to help staff feel comfortable and confident receiving a disclosure whilst at work.
As well as this, staff were directed through the SU Safeguarding Policy and their responsibilities to customers.
Security training is being taken just as seriously resulting in FGH Security, employed by The Sugarhouse, completing ToolBox Online Training that will support employees in situations of safeguarding, sexual assault, drugs and young people.
The Sugarhouse have a dedicated Welfare Officer employed from FGH Security who will also have completed Mental Health and First Aid training; The Sugarhouse managers will also have completed the Adult Mental Health First Aid One Day Course and Safeguarding training.
To combat the rising concerns of spiking by injection, The Sugarhouse have advised all staff to “respond to a customer being injected the same way we would respond to any welfare case,” encouraging them to take the customer to the dedicated Safe Space, provide any first aid required by trained professionals and take them to hospital if needed.
As well as staff training, VP Welfare, Amy Merchant, has also begun drafting a new action plan called ‘Solidarity with Lancaster Night In’ which aims to draw attention to the provisions in place as well as demonstrations on how to use them e.g. Spiking Test Kit Video Tutorials.
Once approved, this action plan will be a fundamental element of the SU response to spiking and the student voice.
In conjunction with this, Lancaster SU have launched their SugarAgainstSpiking Campaign which includes an option for those who feel they haven’t been heard, the chance to share their experiences – this is being advertised on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.