Hundreds benefit from Hackney’s new ‘welfare space’ in Shoreditch

People were able to seek sanctuary in Shoreditch - from crime and sexual harassment - thanks to a new ‘welfare space’ set up in the heart of Hackney’s nightlife.  

The zone gives people immediate access to a range of help - from the police, the council and medics - during a night out. They can also pick up free flip flops, snacks and refreshments. 

More than 200 people sought advice or sanctuary at the pop-up during the weekend pilot last month, resulting in reported crimes being prevented. 

And public feedback shows that the presence of the welfare space instantly made people ‘feel safer’ and ‘reassured’.

The joint initiative with The Metropolitan Police supports the Council’s ongoing project, Hackney Nights, to prevent crime, including sexual harassment, as well as misogyny in the borough’s nightlife spaces. 


This work includes:

  • Access to free training for nightlife venue staff, with over 2,000 members of staff trained since 2022. This training includes how to recognise vulnerability early, spotting drink spiking, catching signs of harassment and more. 
  • Dedicated enforcement officers, medics and support staff on hand in Hackney’s nightlife hotspots
  • ‘Ask Angela’ - a London-wide safety initiative where people who feel unsafe can discreetly get help by approaching venue staff and asking them for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase will indicate they need immediate help out of a situation

The combination of this work has led to more people feeling confident and supported to come forward and report sexual harassment/ offences early; this has also helped Hackney achieve one of the highest detection rates across London in the last financial year.

The new welfare space will be run during the busiest times of the year, such as the festive season, freshers’ week and Halloween.

We have a zero tolerance approach to all forms of anti-social behaviour and sexual harassment in Hackney. The new welfare space alongside our training for venue staff, first aid responders, enforcement officers and initiatives like ‘Ask Angela’ all work together to ensure our nightlife spaces in Hackney are safe. 

We are proud that our partnership work with the police and licensed premises has led to people feeling more confident and supported to come forward and report sexual harassment offences early

We have a long-standing commitment to ensuring our nightlife spaces are welcoming for everyone. We want to ensure that when our residents and visitors go out at night in Hackney they can enjoy themselves, whilst feeling safe.

Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas OBE, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Regulatory Services

If you are a Hackney venue who would like to make your premise safer for all and access free training around inclusivity, crime prevention, sexual harassment, sustainability, women’s safety and more please visit: hackneynights.co.uk/