A scheme to help people with learning disabilities feel safer and more confident when out in their local communities is set to be launched in Chesterfield, with help from Derbyshire police.
The Derbyshire Safe Place Scheme sees businesses and organisations throughout the county sign up to the voluntary scheme, to ensure people with learning disabilities have somewhere to go if they feel scared, threatened or are in trouble while out and about.
The scheme brings together a number of partner agencies including Derbyshire Constabulary, Derbyshire County Council, MacIntyre, Learning Disability Partnership Boards and Chesterfield Community Safety Partnership.
MacIntyre has recently been awarded a grant from Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Charles, to help set up 18 new safe places across Derbyshire, including in Chesterfield.
Members of the Chesterfield learning disabilities advocacy group, Our Vision Our Future, recently took part in a walkabout around Chesterfield town centre, alongside Derbyshire Constabulary’s Person Susceptible to Harm Officer, Richard O’Connor; PCSO Adele Chapman-Jones; Derbyshire County Council and MacIntyre staff.
They met people from local establishments and explained the aims and benefits of the scheme before inviting them to apply to join it. Of the premises approached during the walkabout, 82 per cent have expressed an interest in joining the scheme, and application forms have been received back from more than half.
Richard O’Connor said: “Police in Chesterfield are pleased to work in partnership with all the groups involved. We recognise the value of taking part in, and promoting an initiative that brings retailers and other organisations together with the aim of providing support to members of our community who have a learning disability. We are looking forward to continuing and developing this partnership in the future.”
Training and Development Co-ordinator for MacIntyre Reps on Board, Alison Wright said: “People with a learning disability can feel daunted by a lone trip into town. This grant will enable us to quickly boost the number of Safe Places we have across Derbyshire and people will feel reassured that they can seek help should they ever need it.”
The scheme also offers people with learning disabilities the opportunity to carry ‘Keep Safe’ cards that include important information such as their name and who to contact in an emergency.
The project is already running successfully in libraries across the county and in Buxton. It is set to be officially launched in Chesterfield later this year, with plans to expand it to the Sheffield Road and Chatsworth Road areas.
Find out more about the scheme by visiting: www.derbyshire.gov.uk/safeplace.