Safe Space

Safe Space is the first ever Peer-Led Crisis Service and it's run by the People Focused Group (PFG) Doncaster.

Author: Glyn Butcher

When I reflect on a time in my team that was successful I think about the conception and creation of Safe Space Doncaster's Peer-Led Crisis Service, and how fundamental our Peer Team at PFG Doncaster was in vocalising the need for bridging the gap between mental health services and community services in strategic meetings. 

Our Peer Team worked alongside the community and asked them what they wanted, where they wanted it to be based and who they would wanted delivering the service. The community brought lots ideas to the table of what they wanted Safe Space to look like, its roles and responsibilities and our Peer Team brought the information back to commissioners and providers to walk beside the community to help fund and create what the local community wanted.

The aims and the objectives for Safe Space were that it would: 

  • Prevent people with lived experience and their carers falling off the abyss of service land while waiting to be seen by mental services or the NHS while placed on long waiting lists. 
  • Reduce traffic at the front end of services, diverting people away from Accident and Emergency and reducing the pressures of the NHS and GP staff; freeing up hospital beds and reducing costs on Ambulance, Police and Fire Services and therefore better meeting the needs of Doncaster residents locally within their communities.

The success of Safe Space has been huge. Rotherham is now opening a Safe Space, Barnsley Safe Space goes out to tender soon and Wakefield and Leeds are considering the concept of Safe Spaces in their areas.  

Our Peer Team have been asked to speak at team meetings and also to the Health and WellBeing Board about our experiences in helping to create Safe Space. 

I'm extremely proud of the Safe Space in Doncaster leading the way for other areas of the country to be early adopters of the concept of Safe Spaces. We now take 100 to 150 referrals a month from the Crisis Team and make roughly 1200 to 1500 calls a month to people in crisis in Doncaster who would have got stuck in the system and created more pressure down stream for partner agencies, resulting in system failure and a negative experience for people with lived experience and their carers.

You can find out more about Safe Space and PFG Doncaster's work on their website at:

The publisher is Citizen Network Research. Safe Space © Glyn Butcher 2022.