Network Rail is teaming up with the British Transport Police (BTP) and Festival Republic, the organisers of this weekend’s Reading Festival, to set up a safe space at Reading station as part of a campaign against sexual violence.
The safe space will provide festival-goers with a place to go where they can ask for help and advice and is part of a series of similar confidential services and resources available across the festival grounds.
Thousands of excited revellers are expected to pass through the station this week on their way to the three-day event, which takes place from Friday 26 August to Sunday 28 August. Early entry to the festival site is available from Wednesday evening and with Thursday expected to be particularly busy, Network Rail is welcoming festival-goers throughout the day with a DJ performing outside the station.
Festival attendees can catch a dedicated shuttle bus to the venue from the northern exit of the station or choose to walk, which takes approximately 20 minutes.
Andy Philips, Network Rail’s station manager for Reading said: “We’re proud to have partnered with the BTP and Festival Republic to provide a dedicated safe space for people attending Reading Festival.
“The safety and wellbeing of festival-goers is paramount and this service will allow people to access confidential help in a quiet, secure environment. We want everyone to have a fantastic weekend and hope that the addition of a safe space at the station, part of a network of such spaces at this year’s festival, will reassure attendees that there is always non-judgemental support on hand.”
BTP Reading Inspector Ian Stack said: “We’re pleased to offer this space as part of our operation to ensure passengers’ safety as they travel to and from the festival.
“We’ll have a highly-visible presence at Reading station throughout the weekend. If you need us, you can approach any of our friendly officers or text us on 61016. We will always take you seriously.”
With thousands of extra people passing through the station this bank holiday weekend at all times of day, trains, platforms, and walkways will be busier than usual. Passengers and festival attendees are asked to be patient when travelling over the next few days and to stay safe around the tracks, platforms and concourse.
The station is expected to be busier than normal on bank holiday Monday as festival-goers return home. Extra customer support services are in action throughout the bank holiday weekend to assist passengers where needed.
Image credit: Network Rail