'It needs funding to save lives' - 10 things you said about 'sanctuary' idea for South Shields cliffs

Plans to create a "community hub" on the cliffs in South Shields have been praised by readers on social media.

Thursday, 4th January 2018, 11:23 am
Updated Thursday, 4th January 2018, 11:30 am
A number of rescue operations have been carried out along the coast.

Yesterday we reported that mental health nurse Phil Brown hopes to create a 24-hour hub to provide safety and shelter to those who need support along the coast.

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Read more: Plans for cliff-top sanctuary to cut down on deaths at coastal beauty...

More than a decade ago, Mr Brown thought up a system to support the emergency services in rescue operations. Markers, numbered from one to 90, were placed along the coast from near the Little Haven Hotel to the old rifle range in Whitburn. These assist emergency services in locating people who need help.

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Now, he hopes to recruit volunteers to man a new building on the clifftops - which will be used as a coffee shop and centre by day, but a sanctuary by night.

Many people added their support for the idea - but voiced concerns about the location. Others thought that help was needed before that point.

Here's what you had to say on social media about the plans:

Julie Crawford: "Sounds fab, and something I would volunteer to do in my spare time if it goes ahead."

Jennifer Hudson: "What people actually need is help and support before they get to this point."

Elaine Taylor: "Needs funding to save lives."

Chris Wilson: "A brilliant idea, now that is worth funding."

Linda Tate: "Great idea. I hope it gets funded."

Jill Davis: "I think markers are a brilliant idea. South Tyneside had a place of safety and an acute psychiatric unit all of which were closed.

"I would be concerned about a safe hub next to cliffs. I think it is a brilliant idea Phil but it shouldn’t be next to cliffs."

Lisa Motais: "I think the idea is for when people get to that point there is still a last resort to talk to someone."

Lynn Riella: "Brilliant idea and I would certainly volunteer my spare time."

Rebecca Bailey: "This is a fab idea. Unfortunately unless the council, mental health team and all others that are involved work together it won't get passed.

"There should of always been watch towers in high suicide spots like this, instead of relying on dog walkers and others to report someone the see in distress.

"Wish him all the luck if it helps save lives it's a winner."

Stephanie Brown: "I agree with the idea of the markers but providing a sanctuary for vulnerable people in the exact place you don’t want them to go, I don’t agree with.

"People need the help before they get to this point and there’s organisations where they can contact when they are at that point.

"The more help the better but not next to the cliffs. Looking at reports a tiny percentage of lives are lost at the cliffs.

"I think if everyone joined forces to help proactively it would help a broader range of vulnerable people. I will be happy to chat to anyone that is interested or would like any advice as Chairperson of Talking Angels."

The Talking Angels

Life-saving Support group Talking Angels was launched in summer 2016 by Kirk Wilson, following the death of teenager Chirelle Calder at Marsden cliffs.

Intially, Mr Wilson's hope was to build a hut on the cliffs, to be staffed by volunteers, in a bid to assist those suffering with their mental health.

The group was originally named Cliff Angels.

Since inception, thousands of people have volunteered to help as part of the group, with hundreds raised in support of their work.

For more information about Talking Angels, email [email protected] or search for the group on Facebook.