Shops in Lichfield have signed up for a new scheme which aims to provide a safe haven for people with learning disabilities.
The Citizen Watch initiative will see staff at participating stores offering support to those who feel bullied or threatened.
Workers will be trained to offer reassurance, take basic information, contact police or a social care officer or a parent or a carer.
County Councillor Matthew Ellis, Cabinet Member for Adult Wellbeing, praised the scheme. He said:
“Citizen Watch is all about communities. It’s fundamentally about people in Staffordshire taking care of one another and having regard to each others welfare. That includes local businesses and other organisations that have an opportunity to help people feel safer when they are out and about.
“Whatever individual challenges people face they should be able to live as independent a life as possible if that is what they want to do. People with a learning disability, whether at home or out and about in their local community, should feel safe, secure and welcome and this means being free from the fear of being bullied or threatened.
“The Citizen Watch scheme means people with learning disabilities have the reassurance that if something does happen there are people on hand to help them. It’s about shops and local businesses providing a temporary safe place for people if they do feel intimidated, bullied or scared.”
Participating businesses will display posters advertising their premises as a safe haven.
The launch in Lichfield comes after the success of a similar scheme in Codsall. Funding for the city’s Citizen Watch has been provided by Lichfield Townsafe Business Partnership and Mencap.