Over 40 establishments across West Oxfordshire are now signed up to Safe Places, a national support network offered by businesses for anyone feeling lost, worried or threatened when they are out.
Safe Places has already launched in Witney, Carterton, Burford, Bampton, Woodstock and Eynsham, and is currently being rolled out in Chipping Norton.
First to sign up, and be approved, in Chipping Norton are Boots and the Midcounties Coop Pharmacy.
Yasin Jussab, Pharmacy Manager at the Midcounties Coop said: “I’m a big fan of Safe Places and I can’t think of a better place for someone who’s vulnerable to come to than the local pharmacy.
“We already deal with all sorts of situations concerning customers and patients in which we provide support, our staff are trained and we have safeguarding models in place.”
Along with all the other participating businesses, the Coop is displaying a distinctive logo in their window so people can identify that this is somewhere they can go to if they need help.
Under Safe Places, vulnerable people can also request a special card when they are out and about which will have details of someone, such as a partner, friend or carer, who can be contacted if that person needs help.
Each business is checked beforehand by Police Community Support Officers and they also promote the scheme to vulnerable adults.
Cllr Norman MacRae MBE, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Safe Places is a really simple idea, but one that is proving very effective as we know that a number of people have already been helped in West Oxfordshire. It is especially good for those with dementia, learning disabilities or mental health needs.”
He added, “I hope very much that more and more businesses will come on board.”
Businesses interested in joining the scheme can contact either Jennifer Bennett at West Oxfordshire District Council on 01993 861000 or the Safe Places co-ordinator, Kathy Liddell on 01993 358347.