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Understanding Learning Disability
UnderstandingLearning Disability

Active Citizens Group, Safer Places Scheme and Safe Places

Active Citizens Group – Year 7

The Active Citizens started their round of meetings again in the autumn of 2015. The Group is a Working Group for Eastleigh Borough and Romsey MENCAP, representing the views of people with learning disabilities.

This year we were pleased to visit the Hindu temple in Northam and to learn about Hinduism. None of the group or support had any experience of this religion and we were fascinated by the rituals but also by the similarity in beliefs held by the main religions.

The Active Citizens outside the Hindu Temple in Northam

The group have continued their interest in the Safer Places scheme, reporting any loss of the stickers to the Community Safety Partnership who are responsible for the maintenance of the scheme.

We had our annual visit from our friend at Trading Standard and learned about new scams and how to protect ourselves against them.

The Active Citizens discussed selected parts of the Hampshire Learning Disabilities Partnership Board Plan and gave their opinions on how various aspects were working for them. This information was fed back to Speakeasy Advocacy who represented our views at the Partnership Board meetings.

Historical Interest

The Group has a keen interest in history and we really enjoyed a talk from Stephen Fisher of the Maritime Trust about the Forgotten Ship wrecks of World War One. We have recommended Stephen as an inspirational speaker to many of our friends!

We had a visit to Solent Sky in early 2016 and were fascinated by the development of the early aircraft building industry to the Solent area. We also went to the Sea City Museum to learn more about the history of ocean liners in Southampton at the POSH Exhibition – Port Out Southampton Home.

Solent Sky Exhibition viewed from aboveSolent Sky Exhibition

The group expressed a wish to study history more and we are working on producing a special a project for Year Eight.

The Natural Environment

We maintained our relationship with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust by visiting Testwood Lakes twice! In the autumn of 2015 when we made some sensational dream catchers with berries and seeds and visited the hides to see the migratory birds. In late spring 2016 we identified some common and less common wild flowers and grasses and collected insects from the meadow.

The Active Citizens make dreamcatchers

The Active Citizens identify insects 

Safer Places Scheme

The main focus of the work of Active Citizens in the Autumn 2012 was Safer Places again. The Group organised a second launch of the Safer Places Scheme in the Southern Parishes with Pauline Spiers in November 2012 and Chris Huhne, then our MP, came to open the Launch and to talk about the importance of the scheme.

The whole Safer Places Scheme was handed over to the Community Safety Partnership at Eastleigh Borough Council in December 2012 by Pauline Spiers. The CSP are maintaining the scheme, though the Active Citizens are still taking an interest and promote the scheme whenever the opportunity arises.

Safe Places

The Safer Places scheme provides safe accessible places for people to go to if they become scared, confused, lost or upset while out and about in our communities. Safe places are easily identifiable by the yellow logo displayed as a window sticker.

On December 10, 2013 the Active Citizens were invited by the Mayor of Eastleigh, Councillor Malcolm Cross to his Parlour for a celebration and the launch of the new Safer Places Map of Eastleigh Borough.

Safer Places Map Launch

The map was designed within the Council but was funded by the proceeds of a Coffee Morning that the Active Citizens organised in early 2012. The map shows the 57 shops and businesses within the borough of Eastleigh which have agreed to be part of the Safer Places Scheme.

The Safer Places Scheme in a nutshell:

A “Safe Place” can be a shop or public building which has the Safe Place sticker in its window. Any vulnerable person can join the scheme and will be given a Safe Place Card to carry. The card states clearly “I NEED HELP” and has space for two phone numbers of people that the individual can trust. If the person is distressed, they can look for a Safe Place sticker and give their card to a member of staff in the venue, who then calls one of the numbers on the card, to bring help to the card holder.

If you want to join the scheme, just pick up a card from Eastleigh Borough Council Civic Offices, the Town Centre Office in Wells Place or from One Community. Complete the card, with your name and the name of two people you trust who would help you – this could be a family member, partner, friend, key worker etc. Now keep the card with you at all times, perhaps in your purse or wallet.

Pauline Spiers, Safe Places Co-ordinator for the Eastleigh Borough Scheme said “We are really delighted with the response to the Safer Places Scheme, both from businesses in Eastleigh that have signed up to be Safe Places but also from different groups and individuals who have quickly seen the benefits of the scheme.”
For further information contact the Eastleigh Borough Council Community Safety Partnership 023 8068 8080, or The Safer Places Co-ordinator, Eastleigh Borough and Romsey Mencap Society, 023 8048 3471, email

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Phone: 02380 483471 .. Email: .. Registered Charity Number 263620 .. affiliated to Royal MENCAP Society