Street ambassador scheme extended

JAMES GREENLAND
Last updated 13:00 15/02/2013

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Nelson's night life just got safer, as the city's street ambassadors prepare for an extra month of work.

The Nelson City Council-backed ambassadors were set to retire for the season on February 22, but a budget surplus at Health Action Trust, which co-ordinates the street ambassadors, will see the weekend service remain until March 16.

The street ambassadors have made a name for themselves as the "condom and lollipop" people, but they also provided other valuable services such as help and advice for party animals who may have pushed it too hard in town, patrol leader Colin Chapman said.

Nelson City Council team leader of social development Marg Parfitt said Nelson contractor Health Action Trust came in under budget and that extra money would be used to extend the street ambassadors' summer stint in the CBD.

The street ambassadors were funded by $20,000 from the Ministry of Justice, through the NCC's Safe City Project, $15,000 from the council and a $6000 donation from the Nelson Building Society.

Ms Parfitt said the March 16 extension was on top of an initial extension to the contract, made possible by Nelson Building Society's generous donation.

It was the second year NBS had donated funding to the programme, Ms Parfitt said.

Ms Parfitt said the street ambassadors were important guardians for Nelson city who aimed to stop trouble before it started.

"The presence of the street ambassadors has reduced conflict and aggression, helped to calm down situations that could have led to violence and in some cases, got police involved for an early intervention," she said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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