What is Safer Spaces?

Safer Spaces is a collection of services delivering community based crisis care to reduce bed occupancy, including out of area placements. This is achieved through the development of alternatives to hospital including the Safer Spaces.

Bradford has three established safe spaces which operate as part of the crisis care pathway and these have had a positive impact in reducing attendance at A&E, reducing out of area placements (no acute OAP since March 2015) and reducing inappropriate use of S136.

Project Rationale and Scope

Our focus is to implement new technology aimed at enhancing access to service users during crisis, to operate as an early intervention to prevent crisis and to build resilience to prevent recurrent crisis. By accessing a digital health application available on desktop, tablet or mobile phone users can communicate with Safer Spaces staff instantly via web chat and video streaming.

The digital health application becomes an essential tool - improving pathways and linking existing Safer Spaces networks in one area for ultimate efficiency. The application ensures that service users receive a reliable service, making communication and support quicker and simpler.

The Process

Mapping the journey

Stage 1

Mapping the process - We started by establishing a stakeholder group of Safer Spaces services including Towerhurst, Haven and Sanctuary. We invited representation from First Response and other interested parties to ensure everyone had a voice in the process.

We worked together to map out the current pathways and processes for Safer Spaces. With this as our starting point we looked at how we could use digital to enhance, streamline and improve the offer for all involved.

Stage 2

Designing a digital solution - Working with our Head of Development, the group used Post-It notes to determine the build of the digital application. The coloured notes provided an easy way to visualise the needs, wants and wishes of each stakeholder and ensure nothing was missed.

Design process

From this we were able to create a wireframe of the digital application and its key features, which were then checked and approved by all stakeholders.


Following approval we met with Sanctuary Staff at Mind in Bradford to talk them through the wireframe and how this would be improve their operations. The staff were enthusiastic about the application and how it could streamline their current work flow. They gave some useful suggestions to support with the implementation phase which we will be incorporating.

Stage 3

Consulting with young ambassadors - Once the wireframe had been signed off by Stakeholders, we presented it to our Digital Ambassadors. It was vital that we included young people in the design and function from an early stage. Their input will help us to build an application that works for all users and meets the needs of being accessible, safe and easy for young people to better access Safer Spaces.

The Digital Ambassadors gave us some important insight into both the effectiveness of the processes we are using to build this application -

"The wireframe has the basic structure of what the service will provide. It contains a good detail of what each section will include. It's very clear and easy to understand."

As well as their thoughts on the design and use of the application -

"This system is simple, relatable to me and my generation, and I think it will be effective."

The overall feedback was that -

"...the platform would be useful for teens as they may be anxious to call and speak to someone. Where as an instant chat is easier."

The Ambassadors are meeting on a monthly basis to help shape the design, functionality and promotion of the new Beyond Safer Spaces portal. They are also learning about the process of web application design and how to manage a digital project to meet deadlines and project objectives.

'It’s been so exciting to see this project grow from initial concept/ideas session into the wireframe for the software that we currently have. I definitely feel inspired at the possibility of being able to offer greater accessibility and an increased variety of digital options to anyone in crisis who may have otherwise struggled to access the service.'

David Grant-Roberts - The Cellar Trust