A ‘SAFE Place’ scheme launched in Penarth this week.
The initiative, which is being supported by South Wales Police, Penarth Town Council and Mayor Ian Buckley, enables people to find help in the local high street if they are feeling under threat.
Once in the ‘safe place’ the business owner can call for help or just be with you until the threat is dealt with.
Craig Parker, co-owner of Apothecary64, ignited the spark for this scheme across social media over the past week – with many businesses across the town already displaying a ‘safe place’ sticker in their window.
“As shops and businesses our doors are open so there will always be an element of risk of an extremely rare and extreme situation,” said Mr Parker.
“Penarth is a safe town. In that event then 999 should be called.
“The initiative is not to encourage business owners to put themselves at risk, and certainly not to act as the police.
“It is merely a gentle reminder to the people of the town that should you or your child feel they may be in a situation they can go into any business until the situation has been diffused or to ask for help – that help being to call somebody.
“Something I would hope we all would do if we saw someone in need.
“A simple concept but one that as a kid my parents always told us that if we needed help between school and home to go to our local shop to ask for help.
“We hope that this will give some confidence back to the community.”
Alison Jones, owner of The Crepe Escape, said the initiative is “very close” to her heart.
“If you ever feel worried, uncomfortable, unsafe or need any help then look out for these stickers on any business in Penarth,” she said.
“We will support, help and keep you safe until the threat is gone or dealt with. We are there for you whatever it may be how big or small it may seem we are a safe place for everyone.
“No person should ever feel unsafe and now they have the support and help in their community so this is just wonderful.”
However, Mr Parker expresses that any shop should be willing to help, whether they display a sticker or not.
Ian Buckley, Mayor for Penarth, called the scheme “fantastic.”
“Anyone, regardless of their age, gender, if anyone’s feeling threatened or uneasy, it’s nice for them for know they have somewhere safe they can go where someone will help them.
“This is going to be the first step to people knowing they can go to any premise in Penarth and seek help.
“We’ve got an awesome town, let’s just make it even safer for our neighbours, families, everyone.”