Are you a business owner or venue manager in Warrington? If so, there is a free and easy council scheme you can sign up to which will make your business more disability-friendly.
The council, in conjunction with Warrington Speak Up, runs a Safe Places scheme which aims to help vulnerable people enjoy their town without the threat of abuse.
People with learning difficulties, learning disabilities, and other vulnerable residents have places identified in the town centre where they can go for help if they feel intimidated, bullied or worried when out and about on their own.
HOW IT WORKS?
Local businesses such as pubs and cafes, as well as public buildings such as libraries, can register with the scheme and display the Safe Places sticker. There are over 100 venues already registered as Safe Places within Warrington.
Individuals carry a special Safe Places ID card with their name, relevant health information, and the details of people known to them. If they feel threatened or worried when they are out and about, they can show their card to any staff member in a business displaying the Safe Places sticker. Someone will then call their emergency contact or the police, depending on what the problem is.
THE SUCCESS SO FAR
“By signing up to the Safe Places scheme we feel that we have helped to provide reassurance to users, enabling them to be independent. They can come to us for help and we provide a temporary safe haven for them, reassure them & keep them safe until support arrives. We believe that it has helped to build a trustful relationship between our business and the community.”
Lynne Bennett, Gateway Centre Manager
“It helps everyone to know that it’s safe out and about, that people do care how you feel, that’s the difference” Safe Places member
“I honestly believe it can be the difference between people staying at home, lonely and afraid or getting out and about and being a part of the community where they live”
David Shaw, Self Advocate and Project Worker
Jane (name changed) lives in a supported living tenancy with minimal staff support. She enjoys her independence, in particular being able to get out and about to take part in the groups that she is a member of and to see her friends. During a period when Jane was struggling with anxiety and depression she felt less able to enjoy this independence and was reluctant to access her local community. Determined to get out and meet up with a friend in town Jane found herself becoming increasingly agitated and distressed on the bus journey. When she arrived at the bus interchange she knew that the information centre was a registered Safe Place as she had seen the sticker in the window and went in for support. Jane showed them her card and as she was struggling to share information, they were able to support by making contact with a worker named on the card.
To become a registered ‘safe place’ in Warrington, please contact Pip at Warrington Speak Up on 01925 246 888 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be provided with an A4 vinyl sticker, information sheet and ongoing informal support.