Be Safer. Helping people with a learning disability feel safer.
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The Be Safer Project is focuses on managing risk for people with a learning disability in the community and at home and is supported by CVSs across Essex.

Four Be Safer Groups have been established across Essex  - North East, West, South and Mid.  These groups are comprised of key partners such as Essex Safeguarding Adults Board, Police, NHS, Housing Associations, carers, people with a learning disability and others.  The focus of the groups is to build community resources and networks which will enable people with a learning disability tackle some of the issues they have around being safer and keeping safer in the community.

An anonymous survey was conducted in December 2010 which surveyed a percentage of people with a learning disability across the whole of Essex asking them where/when/who makes them feel anxious or scared either when out and about or at home.

The results of this survey were analysed and a report was created and published in August 2011.  The survey can be viewed on this website here

Projects

The Be Safer Groups are split into four areas in Essex. Click on the map to see the four areas.

West Essex

Survey Map of Essex

Mid Essex

Links to organisations

North East Essex

Minutes

South Essex

 

North East Essex

  Avril O'Sullivan Shakka Phipps The chair of this group is Avril O’Sullivan, Independent Advocacy Services and co-chaired on a rotation basis by Philip Hall a member of the Tendring Local Action Group and Shakka Phipps, AskVERA.
 
A horticultural project – Bloomin’ Green, was successfully submitted by Lisa Outhwaite, Essex Cares and Ali Abbott in March 2011, United Response. This involves awareness workshops being delivered in schools and youth groups throughout the North East of Essex. The children meet people with a learning disability and are made aware of the challenges they face in the community. Six school children are then asked to work alongside six people with a learning disability together with their support workers, on a horticultural project. Tendring District Council provided Bloomin’ Green with the Mediterranean Garden on Clacton Seafront to revamp. Tendring District Council provided materials and tools and all members of the Sea Scouts and people with a learning disability worked with gusto to tidy up the garden area and lay approximately fifteen tons of limestone chippings. Tendring District Council are so impressed with the finished result that they have offered another garden project which will be carried out in 2012. Bloomin' Green

It is felt that people with a learning disability and the children will learn about each other from each other and feed back their knowledge to their peers and family.

Inge Chandler from MENCAP said that some people with a learning disability that she works with would like to be part of the next gardening project and their support has been welcomed by the Bloomin’ Green group.

The North East group is also supporting the Essex Safeguarding Train the Trainer project.

The North East group is made up of representatives from the following organisations:
People with a learning disability, Adult Community College, Colchester Borough Council, Colchester CVS, Colchester LAG, Essex Carers Network, Essex Cares, Essex County Council, Essex County Council - Essex Libraries, Essex Police, Essex Safeguarding, MENCAP, Partnerships in Care, Swan Housing, Tendring Hate Crime Panel, Tendring LAG, Thera East, Tendring Mental Health, United Response.
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Mid Essex

  Janet Brown The Mid Essex Be Safer Group is co-chaired by Janet Brown from Braintree and Essex Mencap and Mark Alliston, Health Access Champion.

The group meets regularly across Mid Essex and alternates meetings between Chelmsford, Maldon and Braintree. A wide range of members attend the Mid Essex Be Safer Group including, Essex Cares, East Living, family carers, Maldon Pioneers, Braintree Mencap, Essex Safeguarding, Advocacy Services, CHP, Swan Housing, Local Authorities, Community Health Services, Hyde In Touch Support, Self Advocates and family carers.

In 2011, the Mid Essex Be Safer Group has been successful in applying for Be Safer funding for three projects which are now developing in the Mid Essex area.

Keep Safe Project Keep Safe Project

Keep Safe Pilot Scheme, Braintree Town Centre

In September 2011, the Keep Safe Scheme was officially launched in Braintree Town Centre. Chris Robb, Community Development Officer, Braintree District Council has been working with Be Safer funding to set up the Keep Safe project in the town. Over 9 premises in Braintree Town Centre have signed up to the scheme and now visibly display the bright yellow Keep Safe sticker. These venues will offer the use of telephone facilities to a vulnerable person if they are in distress or trouble in the Braintree Town. They can also make a phone call on someone’s behalf. Over 80 people with a learning disability in the Braintree area have signed up to the scheme and now carry key fobs and wallet sized contact cards with their important telephone numbers on them. This means that wherever a Keep Safe sticker is seen, help is only a phone call away.

Keep Safe is widely supported in Braintree by many partners such as Braintree District Council, Braintree Mencap, Neighbourhood Watch, Essex Libraries, Essex Police and shops and businesses in Braintree, such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and George Yard Shopping Centre.

Other areas in Essex are very interested in adopting the Keep Safe scheme and the Be Safer Project will be working to roll the scheme out to more towns and districts across the county.

I’m Only Joking Campaign

This campaign has recently been successful in achieving Be Safer funding to design and deliver anti-bullying workshops into mainstream and special schools in Mid Essex. The workshops will offer a combination of discussion and drama provided by actors from Braintree Mencap Drama Group. Scenes based around real life experiences of people with a learning disability will encourage young people to think interactively about achieving positive solutions to bullying situations, as well as raising awareness of the harmful effects of bullying on others.

Hyde In Touch Support, Braintree Mencap Drama, Maldon Pioneers and Essex Safeguarding make up the project team that are delivering the I’m Only Joking Campaign.
Learning disability safeguarding awareness

Essex Safeguarding Train The Trainer - Learning Disability Safeguarding Awareness

The Mid Essex Be Safer Group is funding and supporting delivery of the Train The Trainer course in the Mid Essex area.
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South Essex

Myra Bradley The South Essex Be Safer Group is co-chaired by Myra Bradley from Southend Mencap and Matt Riches, Health Access Champion.

The group meets regularly at Rayleigh Weir Community Fire Station and has a wide range of members that include Essex Police, Local Action Groups, Cross Roads, Essex Cares, Adult Community Learning, Essex Safeguarding, Advocacy Services, Local Authorities, Community Health Services, Self Advocates and family carers.

In March 2011, the South Essex Be Safer Group was successful in applying for Be Safer funding for the three projects, which are now underway in South Essex.

Hate Crime Awareness Schools Workshops – Basildon and Districts

Working in partnership with Basildon Hate Crime Panel and New Generation Development Agency, Be Safer South Essex has funded the delivery of 70 workshops into secondary schools and other educational establishments in Basildon and surrounding districts. These workshops help young people to understand what a hate crime is, how hate crime affects people, how it can destroy lives and how to report a hate crime. The workshops also aim to raise awareness of the legal consequences of hate crime.

Recently a Be Safer group member with a learning disability attended a workshop and spoke to the young people there about her own experiences of being bullied at school because she had a learning disability. Hearing personal stories like this first hand has a great impact on those listening.

Following on from the success of the workshops project in Basildon and districts, the South Essex Be Safer group has been awarded further funding and will be working with New Generation Development Agency and Castle Point and Rochford Councils to deliver 72 workshops to secondary schools in both districts.
Everyday Lives

Everyday Lives, Different Dimensions – South Essex

Everyday Lives, Different Dimensions is a photographic exhibition with a difference. Designed as a touring exhibition to go across South Essex, the pictures celebrate how people with a learning disability participate in and contribute to the local community, at school, at work and at leisure, in their ‘everyday lives’. Many of the photos have been taken by someone with a learning disability or learning difficulty. Some have not.

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West Essex

Stephen William The chair of this group is Stephen Williams, Guideposts Trust.

In March 2011, Razed Roof, an inclusive drama group with approximately sixteen people with a learning disability, their carers and support workers with Annette Lidster as their artistic director were successful in their bid for Drama workshops.  Drama WorkshopIt was noted that the Be Safer Report highlighted that people with a learning disability were anxious or scared of school children, college students and groups of young people.  In order to bring the two communities together Razed Roof developed workshops which would focus on bullying.  Schools were invited to send classes into Razed Roof to undertake the workshop sessions with the members of Razed Roof focussing on bullying. They worked in groups of mixed abilities enacting experiences or what they have witnessed happening to others.  SchoolsAt the end of the two hour sessions the school children were asked to go back to their schools and create something which would depict what they had learnt from the workshop.  This could be in the form of a piece of poetry, a piece of drama, a piece of prose or a piece of artwork which could be brought to the “Event” held on 10th November 2011 at the Playhouse Theatre.

The Schools who participated in the project were:

Stewards School,  Latton Green Primary School, Mark Hall School, Sheredes School, Oakview School, The Bishops Stortford High School, Harlow Youth Council

The West group is also supporting the Essex Safeguarding Train the Trainer project.

The Be Safer Group West is made up of representatives from the following groups and organisations:

People with a learning disability, Adult Community College, Essex County Council, Essex Cares, Family Mosaic, InTouch, MENCAP, NEE PCT, North London Homecare & Support Ltd, Razed Roof, Swan Housing, CVS Uttlesford, Voluntary Association Epping Forest, Harlow and Epping Local Action Groups, Essex Safeguarding Adults Board, Sanctuary Carr-Gomm, Field & Rumens, Elbow Grease, North London Homecare & Support Ltd
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Acknowledgements to FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Image Creator Againstar for 'crumpled white paper image', Image Creator 89studio for 'yes/no tick box', Image Creator digitalart for 'Newspaper Icons', Image Creator photostack for 'internet concept' and to Image Creator renjith krishnan for 'Team Meeting'.