A new initiative has been launched in Rossendale to help vulnerable people in the community.

Rossendale Safe Places aims to provide a network of organisations which can support residents who feel vulnerable.

Vulnerable people include those with dementia, learning difficulties and anxiety.

The scheme is recognised nationally and is part of Dementia Friendly Rossendale (DFR), which is volunteer driven.

Brian Topping, Chair of DFR, said: “People want to help.

A Safe Place Card, which has space for two contact details.
A Safe Place Card, which has space for two contact details.

“That’s what we’re trying to encourage and that’s what our community programme is about, getting people to help those affected by dementia.”

It will work using a card system; a person carries a card, on which there is space for two emergency contact details.

Places such as supermarkets, offices and shops can become a safe place by applying through Rossendale Borough Council.

It is estimated that there are 1,100 people living with dementia in Rossendale.

Andy Laverty, Loyalty Commissioning Manager at East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, has been involved in DFR since it first started.

He said: “The sensible solution to me was to support the development of a community led group and in Dementia Friendly Rossendale we have found this to work and it has gone from strength to strength.”

Another initiative, called Dementia Buddies, has also been launched.

This involves the use of four products; a pin badge, key ring, zip tag and wristband.

A Dementia Buddy wristband, which carries a "chip".
A Dementia Buddy wristband, which carries a “chip”.

Each product carries a chip containing emergency contact information, which can be accessed through either smartphones or police equipment.

The aim of these initiatives is to give those with dementia more freedom and independence, while keeping them safe at the same time.

Mr Topping recognises that the topic is a sensitive one, saying: “Dementia is not an easy issue to broach with anyone.

“We have to be mindful both of people who live with the disease and also the carers. To get that balance right is quite difficult.”

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