MORE than 70 shops and businesses have signed up to a new safe place scheme that aims to provide help and support for disabled people.

The simple scheme involves participating businesses displaying a sticker in their window to show that they will help anyone with a disability who gets into trouble while out and about.

The aim is to create a network of safe places that people can turn to if they become lost, have something stolen or feel they are being harassed.

The scheme was set up by disabled people from Bournemouth YMCA, Bournemouth People First and Poole Forum in response to new figures showing that eight out of 10 people have reported being harassed or humiliated when out in their community.

Businesses in Bournemouth, Boscombe, Winton, Kinson and Poole have all signed up to the scheme.

Joely, a young disabled person living in Bournemouth, said: “Sometimes in town, I get scared and feel anxious quickly due to the volume of people and loud noises and often feel like I need help.

“The sad reality is nasty things do happen to me and other disabled people in public frequently.

“So a safe place is desperately needed in order to help us, if and when we need it.”

Kerrie Toms, from the Sandwich Parlour in Sea Road, Boscombe, was one of the first Safe Places to sign up to the scheme. She said: “The Safe Place project gives security to vulnerable people if they feel scared or in trouble.”

Any business who would like to be involved should contact Poppy Sargeaunt on 07827 848479 or Paul Thomas on 07894 424861.