06:23AM, Tuesday 20 March 2012
'Vulnerable people' who feel frightened or bullied in our town centres are to be provided with 'safe shops' to get help in.
A Big Society grant of £1,500 has been awarded to start up the Safe Place Scheme.
It will see stickers and posters put up in stores across the Royal Borough to mark them as part of the initiative.
More than 50 traders have already signed up and on Tuesday last week the funding was rubber-stamped by councillors.
The council's community safety team are launching the scheme in May and it will run on a voluntary basis.
Head of the department Brian Martin said: "It's for people with learning disabilities or the elderly or anyone who feels threatened or scared.
"For example if they feel a group of kids is taunting them they can go into the shops with stickers and a member of staff will look after them and if necessary phone the police."
Community wardens will train shop staff and the scheme will be promoted in day centres across the borough.
At the meeting on Tuesday members of the Big Society panel also approved:
-£5,000 for the WRVS (Women's Royal Voluntary Service) to help evaluate the CareBank project which launched two weeks ago and rewards people for volunteering.
- £10,000 of funding for a youth participatory budget scheme, due to be launched by the youth council in the summer.
- £2,000 go to a diamond jubilee event in Cheapside which will see volunteer work carried out in the area.
- £1,000 be given to SPICE (Special People on Ice) to pay for volunteers to take members to compete in a special needs ice hockey tournament in April.
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Concerns have been raised by residents after they were ‘stopped and challenged’ by police when driving yesterday (Tuesday) for shopping and exercising.