Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership joined forces with Police Scotland to establish a network of safe places across the two council areas for disabled and elderly people.
Over the past year 48 premises have signed up to the award winning initiative, creating a network where people can go if they are lost, become unwell or distressed, or are the victim of crime while out in their community.
Developed by the charity I Am Me Scotland in partnership with Police Scotland, Keep Safe offers a network of safe places, including shops, cafes and libraries, to encourage people to participate in daily community life free from the fear of harassment and harm.
The organisations involved are issued with a Keep Safe sticker to display in their premises window to let vulnerable people know that they provide a ‘Keep Safe’ place.
Those who want to utilise the initiative can source a contact card from participating premises or download from the I AM Me Scotland website. Details of any communication requirements, health concerns as well as the contact details of the person’s emergency contact can be added to the card as appropriate.
If a person goes in to the Keep Safe place and shows their contact card, they will be provided with reassurance and the employee helping them will ring one of the numbers on their contact card and/or contact the police if a crime has been committed.
The cards are not essential for anyone who wishes to use a Keep Safe premises but they are an extra help in assisting in giving the proper care.
Chief Officer of Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership Annemargaret Black said: “The large number of organisations across Clackmannanshire and Stirling who have shown a willingness to help our citizens who may feel vulnerable by joining the Keep Safe initiative is fantastic to see.
“It is important that all people feel safe in their communities and, for those feeling anxious, knowing that they have somewhere to turn if they need support can provide an invaluable reassurance. By providing these Keep Safe locations, we are creating an opportunity for people who don’t always feel confident to participate freely in daily community life.”
Convenor of Stirling Council’s Public Safety Committee, Councillor Maureen Bennison, said: “We are committed to ensuring that Stirling is an inclusive place and one where people look out for the best interests of others. This initiative will help vulnerable members of our communities to feel safe and know where to go for help and assistance, should they require it. It is a superb development and I am sure will help offer peace of mind for people when they are out in Stirling.”
Leader of Clackmannanshire Council, Councillor Ellen Forson said: “I’m pleased to see so many Keep Safe places across Clackmannanshire, where people who may feel vulnerable know they can get care and advice.
“This partnership across many local organisations has proved very successful, and I hope our residents can continue to feel reassured when they’re out and about in our communities.”
Superintendent Mark Lundie, Partnerships and Performance, Forth Valley Police said, "Police Scotland are delighted to be working in partnership with community charity I Am Me Scotland, supporting the roll out of the Keep Safe initiative in Forth Valley. I Am Me raise awareness of and tackle disability hate crime, which is one of the most under reported crimes in the UK. There are 1 million people in Scotland registered as disabled or with a long term illness.
“Tackling hate crime and enhancing community safety is a priority for Police Scotland and Keep Safe is a fantastic initiative that works with local communities and businesses to support this.”
If you would like further information on becoming a Keep Safe member or utilising the scheme please contact Lynda Somerville, of Stirling Council, on 01786 233692 or Helen Auld, of Police Scotland, on 101.
For details of current Keep Safe locations throughout Clackmannanshire and Stirling please visit I AM Me Scotland website.