Hailsham takes the lead helping vulnerable people

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A PIONEERING new scheme has been signed up by 22 shops, businesses and various other organisations in Hailsham – to help people with learning difficulties who might be in distress.

The cutting edge initiative has been organised by East Sussex County Council and backed by other authorities including Hailsham Town Council.

Hailsham is the first town in the county to sign up to the scheme which aims to help people with learning difficulties feel safer when out-and-about.

A County Spokesman explained: “If a person with learning disabilities who has a ‘I need help’ card enters a ‘Safe Place’ because they are distressed, the staff in the safe place can assist them - by either offering them somewhere to sit until they feel better/happier, or talking to them and making them feel welcome, and contacting the emergency contact found on the individuals ‘I need help’ card.

“Or if necessary the ‘Safe Place’ may support the individual in contacting the emergency services or contact them on their behalf if they are unable to do so.”

The county council is promoting the scheme following last week’s ‘Learning Disability Week which ran from June 18 to 24.

Other shops, businesses and organisations have been urged to join the scheme.

County Cllr Carl Maynard said: “I’m delighted that so many businesses, which include shops, leisure centres and restaurants, and organisations such the town council have already signed up and I look forward to others getting involved soon.”

His colleague, County Cllr Bill Bentley, who is also a town councillor,added: “Safe Places is a national initiative and I’m really pleased that Hailsham is the first town in East Sussex to join. We’ve got involved in this scheme in response to the views and experiences expressed by people with learning disabilities in East Sussex.”

Hailsham businesses and organisations joining the Safe Places scheme will be given an information pack and logo and stickers to display at their premises. The scheme was officially launched in Hailsham High Street yesterday, June 28.

To find out more about the scheme phone: 01323 464481 or email hollie.farley@eastsussex.gov.uk for more information.