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Commissioner Tipping sees how Safe Place scheme helps protect the vulnerable

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(L-R): PCSO Andrew Carter, Volunteer Mary Brady, Paddy Tipping, Crossing Centre Manager Anne Taylor, Volunteer Thelma de Torre, PC Julie Armstrong

A Safe Places scheme set up by Nottingham Mencap and supported by community groups and businesses helps vulnerable people and those with learning disabilities feel more confident about going out and about, Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said today (15 March).

During his visit to The Crossing Church & Centre – a designated Safe Place in Worksop – he saw for himself how volunteers help the scheme work.

Last year the Commissioner granted funding of £9,000 to Nottingham Mencap to help it expand its burgeoning Safe Place scheme across the city and county.  A further £10,000 has been awarded this year.  He commented: “This scheme opens doors for vulnerable people, encouraging them to take part in community life because they know that help is at hand if they get into difficulties.”

While meeting some of The Crossing Church & Centre’s 100 volunteers in Newcastle Street, Mr Tipping heard examples of support that included help given to a local resident whose motorbility scooter had broken down near the centre. Volunteers brought him inside, made sure he was warm, phoned a member of his family and then arranged for his scooter to be picked up for repair.

There are now around 145 venues signed up to the scheme with the aim of offering a safe haven to those who suddenly feel ill, alarmed or vulnerable to hate crime and are in need of practical assistance…or simply a friendly face.

Mr Tipping said: “Such help has very special value in our communities. I am delighted that so many public-spirited people and organisations across Nottinghamshire are providing what is, effectively, a safety net that gives peace of mind to those who might otherwise lead less fulfilling lives.” 

Nottingham Mencap provides Safe Places with training on communicating and dealing with people with learning disabilities and autism. The venues’ staff and volunteers also receive training on disability hate crime and reporting it to the police, which reduces the risk of victimisation.

Karen Aspley, Nottingham Mencap’s Smile! Stop Hate Crime Coordinator, said: “The Safe Places scheme is specifically for people with disabilities and other vulnerabilities. The scheme is designed to give on the spot practical help to enable the vulnerable person to be reunited with their friends and family, or to support the individual to contact the police if necessary.”

She added: “Safe Places is all about people knowing they can get practical help when and if they need it.”

Around 1500 Safe Place Help Cards with emergency contact numbers have already been provided to vulnerable people by organisations that include health professionals, the police, housing and supported living providers and day centres.

The Crossing is a joint Methodist and United Reformed Church which includes a community centre that opens most evenings as well during the day on Mondays to Saturdays. It also runs a café that is open from 9am-3.30 pm. Both the centre and the cafe are popular with all sections of the local community, and many of those who are supported through the Safe Places scheme also volunteer to help with various groups such as lunch clubs and activities.

Please add – If you are interested in becoming a safe place, or know someone who might benefit from having a Safe Places Card please contact Nottingham Mencap on: 0115 920 9524 or email: sshc@n-mencap.org



Media Enquiries:    Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401



Posted on Tuesday 15th March 2016
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