Businesses urged to sign up and be ‘safe places’ for vulnerable people

BUSINESSES are being asked to sign up to a scheme which aims to provide help and support for people with learning disabilities across Peterborough.

Peterborough City Council’s Safe Place Scheme project helps adults with learning disabilities cope with any incident that takes place whilst they are out and about in the community – for example if they become lost, have something stolen or feel they are being harassed.

The scheme, now in partnership with the Safer Peterborough Partnership, launched in the city in 2010.

Almost 50 businesses, including Queensgate Shopping Centre, Boots in The Bretton Centre and The Salvation Army charity shop in Broadway, are already signed up to the free scheme.

The city council now wants more businesses, pubs and restaurants to come forward to help build a comprehensive network of places making Peterborough as safe as possible for some of its vulnerable residents.

If a business is happy to help, they are given a safe place sticker to put into their shop window.

An individual with a learning disability will carry a card displaying their name and personal contact telephone number in order that the manager or member of staff in the shop or business knows who to contact.

Participating businesses are not expected to have to make many calls, but to provide a temporary safe haven for this very vulnerable group within the Peterborough community until help and support arrives in the form of the carer, support worker, police officer or PCSO.

All participating businesses will be given an information sheet with guidance on how to assist an individual if in distress.

Deborah Gallacher, the City Council’s project support manager for learning disability, said: “The Safe Place Scheme gives security to vulnerable people if they feel scared or in trouble. By agreeing to be part of this free scheme businesses will be providing reassurance to both users of this service and their carers and loved ones, enabling individuals to be more independent within Peterborough.

“We have given cards to almost 100 people with learning disabilities. We want to create an equal access community; an environment where every adult can go out safely both day and night.

“We have a number of businesses already signed up to the scheme but we are now looking to increase this total.”

Each of Peterborough’s 43 pharmacies has also signed up to the scheme.

Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, cabinet member for adult social care for Peterborough City Council, said: “I would urge as many businesses as possible to sign up for the Safe Place Scheme and help to make Peterborough a city where every resident feels safe.

“It’s important that people with learning disabilities feel able to live their lives as independently as they possibly can.”

Businesses interested in taking part in the scheme should call (01733) 452511.