New scheme helps vulnerable adults to ‘Think Safe’

A new project to educate vulnerable adults about keeping safe is being hailed a success.

Published: Tuesday, 19th May 2015

Representatives from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team, Watford Community Learning Disability Team which is part of Health & Community Services at Herts County Council and Watford Mencap teamed up to deliver the ‘Think Safe’ course in to help adults with learning disabilities in the town.

The ‘Think Safe’ course is designed to give the attendees an understanding of how to keep themselves safe from crime, and when issues arise, how to interact with each of the agencies and gain confidence in speaking to their local police, firefighters and social workers.

During the four week programme they learned about the different strains of abuse: emotional, physical, financial, sexual as well as personal safety in the home and community.

The group took part in role play exercises on a number of subjects including how to report a crime, reinforcing what they need to remember if they witness a crime and how to call emergency services.

They were also given a talk about fire safety from local firefighters, which involved interactive quizzes about fire safety in the home and road safety.

The students were presented with a certificate by Chief Inspector for Watford Dave Wheatley, for recognition of their work and attendance on Tuesday 11 May at Watford Fire Station in Lower High Street.

Watch Commander at Watford Fire Station, Chris Williams, said: “The course caters for an audience of six adults, who are referred to Think Safe by MENCAP or social services. We hosted our first Think Safe course in October and it went really well so this is our third successful course. It’s held at the fire station every Monday evening and we are already preparing for the next course to start in the next few weeks.”

Chief Inspector for Watford, Dave Wheatley, said: “The course is designed to protect people in the local community with learning difficulties who may be particularly vulnerable to crime, as well as to encourage them to report any issues they have and understand how to do this.

“I was delighted to hand out the certificates at the final session and congratulate them for completing the course. I have no doubt they will now feel much more confident around police, fire and other keep people who are there to help them, should they need it.”

The project is supported by the Safer Watford Community Safety Partnership which brings together Watford Borough Council, Hertfordshire Constabulary, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue, Hertfordshire County Council and other key local organisations. The partnership works together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and achieve this by diverting people away from committing crime and anti-social behaviour, protecting the vulnerable and keeping people informed.

Lauren Hines, Social Worker from the Watford and Three Rivers Community Learning Disabilities Team said: “Think Safe is designed to empower adults with learning disabilities to have an opportunity to talk about and learn how to keep themselves safe from crime and what to do if issues arise. Think Safe enables participants an opportunity to interact with statutory agencies and gain confidence in speaking to their local police, firefighters and social workers. I am proud to be a part of this initiative which has already been a great success in the Dacorum and St Albans area.”

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