Feeling unsafe on a date? Pub goers can now Ask for Angela to get help
A new scheme designed to help those at risk of abuse in a pub or bar has been launched in the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire.
If someone feels uncomfortable in a licensed venue in Abingdon or Didcot they can go to the bar and ask; “Is Angela in?”. Staff will then offer discrete help, such as keeping an eye on them, calling a friend, relative, taxi, or the police - or simply help them to leave the building via alternative exit.
Having started in Lincoln in 2016 the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign is now available across a number of towns and cities in the UK.
The scheme is particularly aimed at those who are on a date with someone they have only just met online, or via a dating app, who then doesn’t turn out quite as they expected.
Participating venues can be recognised by a blue sticker in their window and posters displayed in bar and toilet areas. So far, 21 pubs have signed up in Abingdon and ten in Didcot.
The ‘Ask Angela’ campaign will be rolled out across towns in the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire this summer. The scheme is supported by local Pubwatch members and the South and Vale Community Safety Partnership.
If you manage or own a licensed venue and would like to join the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Eric Batts, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “’Ask for Angela’ is a discreet way of asking for help should someone require it in a licensed venue. We have a very safe nightlife in the Vale and South Oxfordshire, however when someone does feel vulnerable it’s reassuring to know that this help will be available.”
Cllr Caroline Newton, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “If you are on a date, particularly with someone you have only met before online, then ‘Ask for Angela’ provides that extra reassurance that there will be someone to turn to if that person turns out not to be what you were expecting.”
PC Stuart Betts said: “Thank you to all the members of the pub-watches in Abingdon and Didcot for being so supportive of the scheme. This is a great example of working closely with the community to safeguard potentially vulnerable people in the night-time economy.”
Andy Hewitt, Chairman of the Abingdon Pub Watch, said: “A lot of younger people (18-25) use my pubs because they feel safe and the Ask for Angela scheme can only make that better by being able to turn to bar staff in awkward situations. I think it is a fantastic idea.”
Kelly Forsyth, Chairwoman of the Didcot Pub Watch, said: “Didcot is growing by the day with more and more new people in the area. Ask for Angela gives the opportunity to get out there and meet new people while also having that extra reassurance.”
Data from the National Crime Agency found that from 2009 to 2014 there had been a six-fold increase in sexual offences taking place after someone had met an online date.
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.
Picture taken at the Wheatsheaf in Didcot featuring (L-R):
PC Bev Kaur (Didcot), Julia Williams (Thames Valley Police) Cllr Elaine Ware (Vale of White Horse District Council) Andy Hewitt (Chairman, Abingdon Pub Watch), Kelly Forsyth (Chairwoman of the Didcot Pub Watch), Cllr Caroline Newton (South Oxfordshire District Council), PC Stuart Betts (Didcot), PCSO Ali Blood (Abingdon) and Cllr Eric Batts (Vale of White Horse District Council).