Cairns Street Chaplains started working on the streets on Cairns in October 2013 offering a voluntary foot patrol service, to provide care and basic first aid to vulnerable night club patrons, on Friday and Saturday nights from 11pm to 5am.
In July 2016, in collaboration with the Churches of Christ in Queensland, Cairns Street Chaplains won a State Government tender to provide Safe Night Precinct services. These services were for foot patrol and a rest and recovery facility. The Cairns Street Chaplains felt that the best way to serve their community and to complement the service they already provided, was to have a van parked in a central location as the base for the rest and recovery service. Thanks to the generosity of the Queensland Ambulance Service, this became a reality in early September 2016.
Now in Street Chaplains livery and with its bull bar in a ‘not to be missed’ purple, this ex-ambulance has become a well-recognised feature of the Cairns Safe Night Precinct. It’s a place where people can come for a cup of water (currently the team are giving out over 200 cups per night), some basic first aid (cuts and grazes) or to rest and recover while the Street Chaplains assess them (providing them appropriate care which often includes a vomit bag), then help them find a safe way home with a sober friend or relative, or call QAS for expert assistance when needed.
Thursday night’s (13 October) launch was held on the East Lawn of the Cairns Esplanade and was attended by Michelle Boulter, Acting Officer in Charge Cairns and Hinterland LASN, Cairns Branch, on behalf of QAS. The launch, as well as being a third anniversary celebration, was an opportunity to publically thank QAS for the gift of a decommissioned ambulance and to officially welcome it onto the streets of Cairns.