New scheme offers a 'Safe Place' for vulnerable residents in Wallingford and Didcot

Released on November 27, 2017

A new support network is now available for vulnerable people visiting Wallingford and Didcot.  Safe Places aims to provide a safe location for someone to go if they are feeling lost, worried or threatened. 

Those premises taking part in the scheme are identified with a distinctive Safe Places logo in the window, for example local shops, community centres or cafes – this will be issued with the approval of local Thames Valley Police officers.  A list of the locations signed up to the Safe Places scheme can be found at southoxon.gov.uk/safeplaces.

Under the Safe Places scheme people can request a special card to carry with them when out and about.  This provides details of someone to contact if they are in need of help.  Whether you have a Safe Places card or not, you can enter a participating location and ask for assistance.  Staff have been trained and will be able to help keep you safe. 

If you or someone you know wishes to request a Safe Places contact card, or you are a business interested in becoming a Safe Place, please email South Oxfordshire District Council’s Community Safety Team via communitysafety@southandvale.gov.uk or call 01235 422593.

The Safe Places scheme in Wallingford and Didcot is supported by the South and Vale Community Safety Partnership, Oxfordshire Family Support Network and Age UK Oxfordshire.

Cllr Elizabeth Gillespie, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “The Safe Places scheme is particularly important for those with dementia, learning disabilities, mental health needs, and overseas visitors.  Vulnerable people who may experience difficulties in public spaces now have that extra reassurance that support will be available should they need it in Wallingford and Didcot.

“If you, or a person you know, are someone who can feel vulnerable while out and about, please contact our community safety team for a Safe Place card.  We’d also love to hear from any businesses in Wallingford or Didcot interested in becoming a Safe Place.”

Jan Sunman, a volunteer from Oxfordshire Family Support Network, said “This scheme has been developed because older family carers said that they wanted the peace of mind of knowing that there were people who would look out for their relatives with a learning disability, whilst out and about in their local communities.   Safe Places offers support to all vulnerable groups of people.”

Notes for editors:

Safe Places launched officially in Wallingford on Monday 27 November.  Visitors to Didcot can find out more about the scheme on 4 December when the information stand will be in the Orchard Centre next to Sainsbury.

The South and Vale Community Safety Partnership is made up of representatives from the following organisations - South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council, Thames Valley Police, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Oxfordshire County Council, Public Health, NHS Oxfordshire, Soha, Sovereign Vale Housing, and Thames Valley Probation Service.

Training for businesses which have signed up to the Safe Places scheme has been provided by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.  They will also monitor Safe Places to check how people are using them and will help promote Safe Places in schools and colleges to vulnerable young people, and during Safe and Well visits to vulnerable people in their own homes.